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Aja Port privatization plan attracts no bidders

Date Posted: 2004-05-14

Nahaís Aja Port had no bidders to take over itís container terminal operations.

The May 7th deadline for companies to submit bids to take over the port terminal came and went, without success. Okinawa Prefecture is running the terminal.

The Naha-Aja Port operation needed to go private, according to operators and the union, which asked Governor Keichi Inamaine to publicly recruit a company to take over the business.

No company answered the call.

Naha City, Urasoe and the Prefecture want to turn the terminal into an international distribution center, moving into the highly competitive international shipping business. The idea was to solicit a private company to operate the port structure, starting in 2006.

Now, itís back to the drawing board, as officials seek answers as to why no company had interest to even bid on the port plan. They will decide how to proceed next.

There were two international companies, including one from the Philippines, that had indicated interest in bidding. There were also seven Japanese companies who picked up the applications to bid, but failed to fill out and return the paperwork.

Shanghai, China, Pusan, Korea and Takao in Taiwan are presently large ports operating efficiently and cheaply. They specialize in transshipment of containers, and make the cargo business very economical.

Japanís ports are expensive, and it is now thought nobody wants to compete and do business under these rules, since they cannot be competitive with other Asian companies.

Naha Port Executive Vice President Tsutsumi Toshiro says Okinawa is the best location, but noted there are risks.

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