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Port of Baltimore Expands Shipping Access with New Temporary Channel

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Port of Baltimore Expands Shipping Access with New Temporary Channel

In the wake of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse, the Port of Baltimore has taken a significant step forward by opening a third temporary channel, providing crucial access for vessels amidst ongoing debris removal efforts.

The newly opened channel, situated northeast of the collapsed bridge, serves as a lifeline for “commercially essential vessels” during salvage operations and bridge reconstruction. With dimensions boasting a depth of 20 feet, horizontal clearance of 300 feet, and vertical clearance of 135 feet, this route significantly widens the accessibility for a diverse range of vessels to reach the port.

Coast Guard and Port Captain David O’Connell underscored the importance of this development, emphasizing its capacity to restore approximately 15 percent of the port’s pre-collapse commercial activity.

This initiative follows the opening of the first temporary channel on April 1, soon after the bridge incident in early March. Officials are actively working towards the establishment of a fourth channel by month’s end, aiming to fully restore maritime traffic at the Port of Baltimore.

Meanwhile, efforts to clear debris from the vessel responsible for the bridge collision, the Dali, continue. Despite challenges, workers have successfully removed around 1,300 tonnes of steel using massive cranes. Tragically, the incident has claimed the lives of six roadwork crew members, with recovery efforts ongoing for the remaining two.

The comprehensive debris removal process remains critical, particularly for the safe return of the Dali to the port. As the port navigates these challenges, the opening of the new temporary channel marks a significant milestone in maintaining vital shipping operations amidst ongoing recovery efforts.

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Chinese Crane Manufacturer Denies Cybersecurity Concerns Raised by US Officials

Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries (ZPMC) has vehemently denied allegations of potential cybersecurity risks associated with its cranes, following scrutiny from US congressional committees. The Chinese state-owned company refuted claims and emphasized its adherence to international standards and relevant regulations, as reported by Reuters.

ZPMC highlighted that its cranes have been extensively deployed in ports worldwide, including those across the United States. The House of Representatives security panels specifically examined ZPMC’s installation of Swiss engineering group ABB’s equipment onto US-bound ship-to-shore cranes. ABB executives were summoned to public hearings in January to address concerns about their collaboration with ZPMC.

In response, ABB clarified that it had supplied equipment to various crane manufacturers, including Chinese firms, who then directly sold the cranes to US ports. ZPMC addressed the concerns raised by the Homeland Security and Strategic Competition committees, emphasizing that their cranes do not pose any cybersecurity risk to ports.

The issue of cyberattacks and industrial espionage between the US and China, two of the world’s largest economies, is not uncommon. However, ZPMC dismissed the allegations, asserting its commitment to compliance and transparency in its operations.

ZPMC, listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, boasts a significant presence in the global market, with a fleet of more than 20 transportation vessels, solidifying its position as one of the world’s leading port machinery manufacturers. Meanwhile, ABB, which derives a considerable portion of its sales from China, stands as a key player in the engineering industry, with the US market being its primary source of revenue.

In light of recent concerns, the Biden Administration has announced plans to issue an Executive Order aimed at enhancing port cybersecurity in the United States, underscoring the importance of safeguarding critical infrastructure against potential threats.