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Chairmen Green, Gallagher, Gimenez, Pfluger Issue Statement on Biden Administration’s EO to Combat China’s Maritime Port Crane Dominance, Security Threats: “The Right Move by the Administration”

February 22, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. –– Today, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN), Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security Chairman Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Chairman August Pfluger (R-TX), and Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI), released the following joint statement concerning the Biden administration’s announcement of investments in the domestic manufacturing of port cranes and other maritime security efforts in order to combat threats from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This announcement follows a lengthy joint investigation by the Committees and numerous calls to action to counter the cybersecurity risks, foreign intelligence threats, and supply chain vulnerabilities within the U.S. maritime sector. 

“In light of our Committees’ warnings about the grave threats posed to our maritime security, this is the right move by the administration. It is deeply troubling that the vast majority of ship-to-shore cranes at U.S. ports are manufactured by the Chinese state-owned company, ZPMC, and the operational technology, sourced from various global suppliers, is often installed in China. Many of the cranes’ operational components are manufactured by the Swiss firm ABB, which partners closely with both ZPMC and the U.S. government.

“The United States must not give the CCP another way to infiltrate our critical infrastructure, conduct surveillance and espionage, steal intellectual property, and potentially throttle our port activity altogether. The threat is real—we now know Chinese-affiliated hackers, Volt Typhoon, maintained access to our critical infrastructure, including the maritime sector, for five years before discovery.

“This announcement does not end the threat, but it is a meaningful step to counter it. The follow-through will be essential. We will continue conducting a rigorous investigation into the threats posed by the CCP’s access to our ports. Our Committees will continue urging the Biden administration to strengthen the resilience of our critical infrastructure and to resolve vulnerabilities in our supply chains.”


The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security will hold a hearing next Thursday at 10:00 am ET to examine this threat. Read the witness list here.

Over the past year, the Committees visited the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the Port of Miami, and submitted numerous requests for information, documents, and testimony on this homeland security threat.

In July 2023, the Committees sent a letter to the Swiss company ABB, requesting “documents and information explaining its commercial relationship” with ZPMC, “to determine whether ABB’s commercial ties to PRC state-owned enterprises and its ongoing work for U.S. government agencies pose a potential conflict of interest.” Many of the operational components manufactured by ABB are stored and installed in China by ZPMC engineers. ABB maintains significant commercial ties to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), all while holding numerous contracts with U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Defense (DOD).

Following closer investigation into its practices, ABB has failed to cooperate in good faith with the Committees and has lacked the appropriate urgency in responding to calls for increased security. In a January 16, 2024 letter transmitted to ABB, the Committees requested that the company’s U.S. Country Holding Officer testify in an upcoming public hearing. ABB subsequently communicated to the Committees it does not intend to comply with this request. This underscores the importance of increasing domestic production of these crucial components and technology amid the dangers posed by the CCP’s malign influence. The Committees are concerned about all companies that provide internal components and the supply chains, and it continues to investigate the other way that PRC could have influence over the US supply chain.

In April of 2023, Chairman Green, Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Chairman Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security Chairman Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), and Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability Chairman Dan Bishop (R-NC) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, demanding answers on the cybersecurity threats posed to business, military, and industrial operations by Chinese-manufactured cranes operating at U.S. ports.

Outlets such as the Wall Street Journal have reported on the national security risks of Chinese state-owned cranes, revealing that Pentagon officials have called ZPMC a ‘Trojan horse’ for the CCP, and that the FBI has reportedly discovered intelligence collection devices on ZPMC cranes at the Port of Baltimore.

While the Committees are encouraged by the Biden administration’s actions, immense damage has already been done. The evidence gathered during our joint investigation indicates that ZPMC is fully capable of exploiting and manipulating U.S. maritime equipment and technology at the direction of the CCP. ZPMC currently accounts for nearly 80 percent of the ship-to-shore cranes at U.S. maritime ports.