Long-Awaited Port Cybersecurity Initiative Lauded by Gimenez

Long-Awaited Port Cybersecurity Initiative Lauded by Gimenez

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
February 22, 2024

US Congressman Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) welcomed news that President Joe Biden will issue an executive order aimed at bolstering the cybersecurity of US ports. 

President Biden’s announcement follows increased fears over potential Chinese surveillance of the movement of goods through US ports. 

According to Rear Admiral Jay Vann, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Cyber Command, nearly 80% of all cranes used at US ports are made in China. 

Admiral Vann warned the cranes could be “controlled, serviced, and programmed from remote locations…leav(ing) Chinese-manufactured cranes vulnerable to exploitation.”

Thanks to Biden’s executive order, the US Coast Guard (USCG) will be given authority to issue directives on cyber risk management for ports with Chinese-made cranes. 

Last month, Congressman Gimenez and other conservative lawmakers sent a letter urging Biden probe an "alarming security vulnerability" on some Chinese cranes sold to American ports. 

“Safeguarding our nation’s seaports against the malign influence of Communist China is of paramount importance,” said Gimenez. “Finally, the Biden Administration has taken action to enhance port cybersecurity.”

Gimenez serves as Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security, which maintains oversight of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). 

Biden’s executive order will also invest over $20 billion into the manufacture of port cranes by “trusted partners” over the next five years. 

Such partners include PACECO Corp., a U.S.-based subsidiary of Mitsui E&S Co., Ltd (Japan) who is reportedly planning to onshore the manufacturing portion of crane production. 

Additionally, the USCG will also be authorized to respond to cyberthreats targeting the US’ Marine Transportation System (MTS). MTS comprises the US’  integrated network of ports, terminals, vessels, waterways, and land-side connections. 

The USCG will henceforth be authorized to control and inspect vessels and facilities suspected of posing a cyberthreat to the US’ MTS.

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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