US to replace China made cranes at ports

19 April 2024

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The Biden administration is announcing a series of actions to strengthen the cybersecurity of US ports, the main point of entry for trade, which employs 31 million people and generates over $5.4 trillion for the US economy.

An executive order signed by President Biden will bolster maritime cybersecurity by making sure all critical port infrastructure that is owned and operated adheres to international and industry recognized safety regulations. In addition to port land infrastructure, the actions require reporting of maritime cyber-attacks to Coast Guard Cyber Command. The Coast Guard, which helps to control the movement of vessels that could pose a threat to national security, will share reports with the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and other government agencies covering specific regulated facilities and vessels.

In addition to the new rules and regulations, $20 billion will be used to strengthen US port infrastructure through the Investing in America Agenda.

“With over $5.4 trillion in economic activity and over 90% of overseas trade moved through our ports, a cyberattack could cause a cascading impact to both our domestic and global supply chains,” a senior administration official said.

One area of focus in the new port security actions is equipment that moves cargo containers off of vessels, known as remote ship-to-shore cranes. Senior administration officials cited data that estimates 80% of the cranes moving trade at US ports are made in China and use Chinese software, leading to concern that the cranes could be used in Chinese surveillance. There are over 200 of these cranes, which include sophisticated sensors that could track container information. The Coast Guard has evaluated 92 of more than 200 cranes.