USA Invests 20 Billion in Port Security

Cranes and many other Chinese-made port machines will be replaced with the ones made by Japanese Mitsui as soon as possible, as the Chinese allegedly spy on the transportation of war materials

Instead of turning the page, the United States has opened a new chapter in its trade war with China. The U.S. government has allocated a financial package of more than $20 billion over the next 5 years to strengthen the security of U.S. port infrastructure. Among the first tasks announced today, February 21, by President Joe Biden’s administration is to “completely eliminate the use of Chinese-made harbor cranes.”

As the U.S. Wall Street Journal wrote, the intervention fits “within a series of actions aimed at repelling various types of threats, including cyberspace threats emanating from China, that White House sources say could harm maritime cybersecurity.”

The costs will be covered by a large $1 trillion financial package approved in 2021 by the U.S. Congress to bolster the nation’s critical infrastructure. New harbor cranes to replace “made in China” cranes will be manufactured by a U.S. subsidiary of Japanese engineering company Mitsui.

This radical decision by U.S. authorities followed an investigation published last year by the Wall Street Journal newspaper that expressed grave concerns among American political and corporate leaders about “threats of espionage and, above all, sabotage” related to the presence in the U.S. of “vast numbers” of giant cranes and other machinery manufactured by Chinese state-controlled factories in U.S. ports, including those used by the navy and armed forces. According to the U.S. newspaper, Washington is “concerned that the software used in the cranes’ computers could be remotely manipulated by Chinese intelligence, especially in the event of a conflict in the Taiwan Strait or elsewhere.”

It also emphasizes that 80 percent of the cranes used in U.S. ports are manufactured by Chinese industrial giant Zhenhua Port Machinery Company (ZPMC) and are equipped with numerous video cameras and sophisticated sensors capable of “tracking, recording, and sending to China the origin and destination points of containers in transit,” allowing Beijing to gather “top secret” information on the receipt or shipment of various types of materials, including weapons and ammunition, sent by the Pentagon around the world.