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Biden Administration to Boost Domestic Cargo Crane Production

The Biden administration is planning to inject billions into the domestic manufacture of cargo cranes in an effort to bolster maritime cybersecurity, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

What’s going on: “Administration officials said more than $20 billion would be invested in port security, including domestic cargo crane production, over the next five years.”

  • The money, which will come from the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure bill, will pay for a U.S. subsidiary of Japanese firm Mitsui to build new cranes.
  • It would mark the first time in three decades that these cranes would be built in the U.S.

Why it’s important: “We felt there was real strategic risk here,” Deputy National Security Adviser for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger told the newspaper.

  • “These cranes, because they are essentially moving the large-scale containers in and out of port, if they were encrypted in a criminal attack, or rented or operated by an adversary, that could have real impact on our economy’s movement of goods and our military’s movement of goods through ports.”
  • Officials have raised concerns that software on the cranes—which can be programmed and controlled remotely—could be used by China to interfere with American shipping or disrupt crane operation.

Widely used: Port cranes made by Chinese manufacturer ZPMC “account for nearly 80% of ship-to-shore cranes in use at U.S. ports.”

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