Green, Gimenez, Garbarino, and Bishop Conduct Oversight on Threats Posed by Chinese-Manufactured Cranes at U.S. Maritime Ports
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN), 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.
Read more in The Wall Street Journal.
In the letter, the Members wrote, “We write today to express our concern about existing vulnerabilities at our nation’s maritime ports. We are particularly concerned about technology employed by Chinese-manufactured cranes operating in U.S. ports, which significantly increases the cybersecurity risk to business operations systems and terminal industrial control systems. To address these concerns, the Committee on Homeland Security is conducting oversight of vulnerabilities in our nation’s maritime ports and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) resilience strategies to address them. As you know, DHS is the lead federal agency responsible for our nation’s maritime port security and cybersecurity. America’s supply chain and economic security are largely dependent on maritime ports, which help facilitate $5.4 trillion worth of commercial and military goods, annually.”
The letter continues, “[I]f an adversary exploits the operational technology (OT) system of these cranes, port operations could completely shut down, suspending all commercial activity which would also disrupt our nation’s military and commercial supply chains. According to a former top U.S. counterintelligence official, ‘[c]ranes can be the new Huawei.’ Any potential port shut down could create catastrophic economic and security consequences. These vulnerabilities could provide opportunities to near-peer nation-state adversaries, such as China, to cripple our economy from behind a computer screen.”
The letter concludes, “To assist the Committee in its oversight of DHS’s maritime port security efforts, please schedule a briefing to Committee staff on maritime port security with a focus on maritime port cybersecurity as well as the vulnerabilities ZPMC’s cranes in U.S. ports may pose, as soon as possible.”
Read the full letter here.
Ship-to-shore cranes play a critical role in maritime port operations and U.S. commercial and military supply chains. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, roughly 80 percent of cranes used at U.S. ports are manufactured by the Chinese company Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. (ZPMC), a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Co. These cranes contain technology that allows the company to remotely monitor “in real time” the movement of these cranes and the shipping containers they transport, access that could provide the Chinese Communist Party with valuable information on American critical infrastructure. Just last month, the U.S. intelligence community warned in its annual threat assessment that China represents the “most active, and persistent cyber espionage threat to U.S. Government and private-sector networks.”