Skip to content


“A Matter of National Urgency”: Subcommittee Chairman Gimenez Delivers Opening Statement in Hearing on U.S. Port Security

February 29, 2024

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security Chairman Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) delivered the following opening statement in a hearing to examine port security vulnerabilities, as well as potential solutions and actions Congress can take to improve maritime and economic security amid increased cybersecurity threats from China.


Watch Chairman Gimenez’ opening statement in a hearing entitled “Port Cybersecurity: The Insidious Threat to U.S. Maritime Ports.”

As prepared for delivery:

Today, we are here to discuss a matter of national urgency that strikes at the very heart of our nation’s economic vitality and security: the integrity of our maritime infrastructure. This includes port equipment, such as ship-to-shore cranes and other operational technology, in widespread use at American ports, and that is manufactured or installed in the People’s Republic of China.

The proliferation of port equipment and operational technology manufactured or installed by PRC engineers at our nation’s ports introduces significant supply chain vulnerabilities into our Maritime Transportation System. As a country, we must acknowledge and assess these risks, threats, and vulnerabilities and decide how to effectively respond.

When I was Mayor of Miami-Dade County, I witnessed firsthand the critical role that ports play in our local, national, and global economy. Our ports are not just hubs of commerce, they are gateways to the world.

However, our ports are increasingly vulnerable given the evolving threat landscape. We must address this issue with the utmost seriousness. Last week, the Biden administration signed an executive order providing the U.S. Coast Guard with new authorities to respond to potential malicious actors targeting our maritime sector—and particularly those from the PRC. While I commend the administration on this initial action, more must be done.

The ship-to-shore cranes towering over our docks—while instrumental to our port operations—have become a focal point of concern. Most of these cranes are made by ZPMC, a PRC state-owned enterprise under the direct control of the CCP. I have witnessed firsthand the destructive power of communist regimes, and I have no interest in allowing the CCP to conduct industrial and economic espionage in our ports through their cranes.

Last March, Chairman Gallagher of the Select Committee on the CCP and I visited Port Miami to speak directly with port operators and to highlight the legislative efforts we are undertaking to safeguard our ports.

This Congress, I introduced the Port Crane Security and Inspection Act. This piece of legislation is a testament to our commitment to ensuring that the backbone of our maritime infrastructure is not compromised.

In addition, I have led an ongoing joint investigation with the Select Committee on the CCP to deepen our understanding of the risks at hand. We have learned that these ship-to-shore cranes, which are essential to our maritime operations, could potentially be used as conduits for espionage, or as a CCP Trojan horse, that threaten to undermine our national security.

The findings are clear: nearly 80 percent of the ship-to-shore cranes in our ports come from ZPMC, and this near-monopoly not only presents cybersecurity threats but also supply chain vulnerabilities that could be exploited by those who wish to inflict damage on our nation. The monopoly allows for ZPMC to compromise U.S. bound cranes that could cause malfunction or facilitate cyber espionage.

Unfortunately, Communist China’s influence in the supply chain extends beyond state-owned enterprises like ZPMC. Third-party companies often create the internal operational components for these ship-to-shore cranes. These include programmable logic controllers which control many ship-to-shore crane systems, as well as crane drives and motors. In most cases, ZPMC requires that these companies ship their components to the PRC where they can be installed by ZPMC engineers or technicians.

In the context of our ongoing investigation, our Committees have explored the role of ABB, a Swiss engineering firm. ABB provides its components directly to ZPMC engineers to install on cranes in Communist China.

I have requested information from ABB’s U.S. Country Holding Officer about the company’s supply chain security practices, as well as other companies with ties to the CCP. Better understanding their practices gives us a broader picture of how their components may be compromised. I am discouraged that ABB has not been as forthcoming as they should be, particularly when it involves U.S. National Security.

Resolving these concerns is crucial for ensuring the security and integrity of the United States’ maritime infrastructure and protecting against the risks associated with foreign influence and control over critical supply chains.

We cannot stand idly by while components of American maritime infrastructure could be weaponized against us. It is not just about commerce; it is about national security, about protecting the very fabric of our society from those who seek to unravel it.

Going forward, we must take decisive action to secure our ports, to invest in domestic manufacturing of port infrastructure, and to ensure that every ship-to-shore crane, every bolt, and every piece of equipment that operates within our borders is safe, secure, and serves the interests of the United States.