Concerns about espionage: USA sorts out Chinese port cranes

Caption: US President Joe Biden (© White House)

All port cranes manufactured in China are to be replaced in US ports. The reason for this is concern about espionage and cyber attacks.

US President Joe Biden has issued an executive order to offer domestic industry more protection against possible cyber attacks and industrial espionage. One plan is to replace all port cranes and container gantry cranes built in China with domestically produced equipment. This is because there are fears in America that espionage devices and/or software could be installed. [ds_preview]

The aim is to improve the protection of critical infrastructure, it is said. According to the information, the government intends to make $20 billion available over the next five years for investments, including in new production capacities, as part of the “Investing in America” initiative.

America’s prosperity is directly linked to maritime trade and the integrated network of ports, terminals, ships, waterways and land-based connections that make up the nation’s Marine Transportation System (MTS). This complex system generates 5.4 billion trillion in value annually, employs approximately 31 million Americans and transports nearly 95% of the goods entering the United States. However, the increasing digital networking of the economy and supply chains has also created vulnerabilities.

More powers for security authorities

The Department of Homeland Security and the US Coast Guard are to be given more extensive powers in order to better respond to potential threats. These provide a series of regulations for port facilities and ships and new control options.

Around 80% of the cranes used in US ports currently come from the Chinese market leader ZPMC. These systems are equipped with sophisticated sensors that can record and track the origin and destination of containers in transit, which could potentially lead to critical information, including information on the movements of the US military, falling into foreign hands.

The replacement cranes are to be ordered from the US manufacturer Paceco Corp, a subsidiary of the Japanese company Mitsui. The company has already signalled its willingness to expand its production capacity.

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