SSA Marine--Profile of a Profiteer

Stevedoring Services of America (SSA) is the War Profiteer that was shut down on May 19th when Longshoremen refused to cross a community picket line in the Port of Oakland. Here's some background info on SSA.

Daniel Borgström
May 2007

When US troops rolled into Iraq in March 2003, SSA (Stevedoring Services of America) followed close behind, spearheading the corporate invasion. Only five days into the war, SSA received a no-bid contract to operate the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr. Two weeks later, on April 7, 2003, when police fired "less-lethal" munitions at protesters and longshoremen at the Oakland docks, SSA officials were seen at the police command post. The attack began at the SSA terminal, and it appears that company officials were involved. 59 persons were injured.

SSA (Stevedoring Services of America) is a multi-national corporation with headquarters in Seattle, Washington. The Puget Sound Business Journal admiringly called SSA "a powerhouse that keeps getting bigger and more influential." The newspaper estimated that company revenues for 2002 exceeded one billion dollars. It’s the largest stevedoring company in the U.S. and reportedly has close ties to the Bush regime--the kind of ties that got it the contract for Umm Qasr, Iraq’s only deep-water port. SSA’s lobbyist was Reginald Bashur, a former aid to George W. Bush when he was governor of Texas.

The normal function of a stevedoring company is the loading and unloading of ships. But SSA (Stevedoring Services of America) has gone beyond that and is also in the business of privatizing seaports. It has been doing that on a global scale. In 2002 SSA completed its takeover of four major Mexican ports. That put the company in control of 45 percent of Mexico’s cargo.

During the 2002 lockout of the ILWU longshoremen, SSA showed itself to be vehemently anti-union. On that occasion, the Bush regime, acting through Tom Ridge, then head of Homeland Security, intervened in favor of SSA and the Pacific Maritime Association.