THE WORLD’S leading manufacturer of ship-to-shore container cranes and other port hardware has issued a stern denial of accusations its equipment is fitted with spyware.

Shanghai Zenhua Port Machinery Co, better known as ZPMC, was named in a US Congressional probe as fitting its cranes with unexplained “cellular modems” suspected of allowing remotely-accessed, covert communications. 

ZPMC is a subsidiary of Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Machinery Co, itself a division of the government-owned China Communications Construction Company. ZPMC is reckoned to have a 80% share of the global STS gantry market and its cranes are installed at every major container terminal in Australia. The company also owns a fleet of 26 specialised heavylift vessels, used to deliver the cranes worldwide.

The latest cybersecurity concerns, revealed in The Wall Street Journal, follow a directive issued by US president Joe Biden on 22 February that Chinese-built cranes be replaced by Japanese units, at a cost to US taxpayers of US$40 million.

In a statement carried by China Daily and other outlets ZPMC said it took the US concerns seriously and “believes that these reports can easily mislead the public without sufficient factual review.

“The cranes provided by ZPMC do not pose a cybersecurity risk to any port.

“ZPMC has always strictly abided by the laws and regulations of relevant countries and regions, and operated in compliance with the law on this basis. 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,” it said.

“ZPMC will continue to strictly abide by applicable laws, regulations and regulatory requirements to safeguard the company’s business with global customers and achieve mutual benefit and development.”