By John Konrad (gCaptain) As concerns continue to mount over the potential use of Chinese-made cranes to gather intelligence on US military equipment, members of the House of Representatives China Select Committee, chaired by Chairman Mike Gallagher, have convened at the Port of Miami to study the issue and propose legislation aimed at inspecting dockside cranes and banning the use of cranes with Chinese-controlled software.
These cargo cranes, reportedly equipped with sophisticated sensors that collect and transmit data on US military assets, have sparked concern from US lawmakers and Pentagon officials, who liken the devices to a “Trojan horse.”
To make a comprehensive assessment, the committee’s lawmakers will examine how these cranes could be used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for espionage or the disruption of American goods and military assets. The initiative of the legislator follows a Wall Street Journal report on the Pentagon’s perception of these cranes as potential national security threats.
“The CCP threat is not over there, it is right here at home,” Gallagher said in a recent statement. “The threat lies in our ports and gives China the ability to disrupt America’s entire domestic economy.”
Concerns about Beijing’s surveillance techniques have increased since the US launched a Chinese surveillance balloon in January. Shanghai Telephone Heavy Industries (ZPMC) has supplied cranes to numerous ports in Virginia, South Carolina and Maryland over the past two years. With nearly 80% of the cranes in US ports being manufactured by China’s ZPMC, a subsidiary of China Transportation Construction, the situation has raised alarms within the US national security community and the FBI.
“70 percent of the cranes used in our country today are controlled by the Chinese Communist Party,” said US Congressman Carlos A. Gimenez. “I introduced legislation to ban Chinese-made software that controls these cranes.”
Whilst the potential safety hazards of these cranes are paramount, it is also important to consider why ZPMC cranes have been adopted by so many ports around the world. According to industry leaders, ZPMC cranes are of good quality and significantly cheaper than those offered by Western suppliers, which has helped US ports cut costs and stay competitive.
in one opinion ZPMC, released in early March, said, “ZPMC always strictly follows the laws and regulations of each country. ZPMC cranes are designed and manufactured in strict accordance with customers’ functional and technical requirements. ZPMC strives to deliver the safest, most reliable equipment and to help its customers build world-class, green, low-carbon and smart ports.”
The broader context of this problem includes China’s growing control over global trade and infrastructure. In recent years, US national security officials have pointed to a number of Chinese-made devices that could facilitate US surveillance or disruption, such as: B. Baggage control systems and electrical transformers. Aside from that, Gallagher says China’s strategic investments have enabled it to gain control of ports around the world, manufacture almost all of the world’s new shipping containers and control a shipping data service.
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