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Chinese crane company at center of espionage probe denies posing threat to US national security
Photo by Qian Weizhong/VCG via Getty Images

Chinese crane company at center of espionage probe denies posing threat to US national security

A Chinese crane manufacturing company at the center of a congressional espionage investigation denied posing a threat to United States national security, Fox Business reported, citing a recent filing.

The House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party and the House Homeland Security Committee opened an investigation into Chinese-built ship-to-shore cargo cranes located at U.S. seaports after the Department of Justice warned last year that the equipment could be a Trojan horse, the Wall Street Journal reported. The probe found that several seaport cranes, made by Shanghai-based manufacturing company ZPMC, contained communication devices that were not requested, including over a dozen cellular modems.

Engineering group ABB manufactured devices that were installed on the cranes, Fox Business reported.

The Homeland Security Committee noted that the devices do not "contribute to the operation of the (ship-to-shore) cranes or maritime infrastructure and is not part of any existing contract between ZPMC and the receiving U.S. maritime port."

One seaport where the devices were found told the committee that the modems were likely installed on the crane when they were built in China in 2017. The devices were later removed in 2023.

When the DOJ initially expressed concerns about a potential national security threat, China responded by stating the accusations were "paranoia-driven."

"The accusation that China uses ship-to-shore cranes to collect data is completely unfounded. The U.S. needs to respect the principles of market economy and fair competition, and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment," China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated.

The American Association of Port Authorities claimed the accusations were "sensational."

In a recent filing review by Fox Business, ZPMC also denied the allegations.

"ZPMC takes the U.S. concerns seriously and believes that these reports can easily mislead the public without sufficient factual review," the company stated. "The cranes provided by ZPMC do not pose a cybersecurity risk to any ports."

"Cranes supplied by ZPMC are used in ports around the world, including the United States. These cranes are designed, manufactured, transported, installed and commissioned, and delivered after acceptance in strict accordance with international standards, applicable laws and regulations, and technical specifications determined by customers," ZPMC announced, according to China Daily.

The company added that it will continue to comply with laws and regulations.

ABB told Fox Business, "Since July 2023, ABB has engaged with the U.S. House of Representative Committee on Homeland Security and the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party as they research port security issues."

"We take the Committees' requests seriously. We disagree with the characterization of ABB's work in the port sector," the company added.

President Biden signed an executive order last year appropriating $20 billion for the production of seaport cranes to bring manufacturing back to the U.S.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →