July 14, 2023

House passes defense bill with ban on Chinese shipping platform


The U.S. House of Representatives approved a defense spending bill on Friday that included a provision limiting China’s ability to monitor the flow of ocean containers into and out of the U.S.

The provision, backed by Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., prohibits U.S. ports that take federal grant money from using China’s state-supported National Public Information Platform for Transportation and Logistics, known as LOGINK.

The provision was included as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the chamber along a party-line vote.

“More [than] 90% of traded goods are carried through ocean shipping,” Johnson said after attaching the provision to the NDAA last month.

“LOGINK provides massive amounts of monitoring, data, and logistics infrastructure to the [Chinese Communist Party] – it’s imperative we keep LOGINK out of American ports. China already competes unfairly in the global shipping arena. Blocking their access to American port data is one small step to keep this advantage to a minimum.”

LOGINK has helped give China “unrivaled visibility” into global shipping container flows, according to researchers at Rice University, who estimated that visibility at roughly half of the world’s container trade lanes as of 2020.

“Beijing can quietly feed insights from LOGINK to preferred PRC [People’s Republic of China] logistics firms at preferential prices, a key competitive advantage in a third-party logistics market that a recent study by the U.S.-China Security and Economic Review Commission estimates to be worth $1 trillion annually,” according to the university’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

“Giving PRC firms such an information edge would help them to systematically underbid foreign competitors and would drive even more data flow over LOGINK at the expense of other systems, further cementing Beijing’s informational advantage.”

As passed by the Republican-controlled House, the NDAA, an annual defense spending bill, has a tough road ahead in the Democratic-controlled Senate, according to political analysts, given a raft of social policy amendments attached to the legislation over the last several days by hard-right-leaning Republicans.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.


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