Biden administration plans to invest $20B in US port security

(Courtesy Port of New Orleans)

In response to fears that Chinese-built cranes used at several U.S. ports pose a threat to national security, The Wall Street Journal reports that the Biden administration plans to invest billions to replace the cranes with ones built domestically.

The move is part of a larger plan announced by the administration on Wednesday to improve maritime cybersecurity. Administration officials say more than $20 billion will be invested in port security, including domestic cargo crane production, over the next five years. The money, tapped from the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in 2021, would support a U.S. subsidiary of Mitsui, a Japanese company, to produce the cranes, which officials say would be the first time in 30 years they would be built domestically.

“We felt there was real strategic risk here,” says Anne Neuberger, U.S. deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology. “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.”

It’s currently unclear whether any Louisiana-based ports would be affected.

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