Los Angeles is the USA’s second largest port, which makes it a key cog in gthe American economy. In an era where lean inventories are a business norm, disruptions in that port could have massive, cascading ripple effects on the US economy. Improving its security and streamlining its operations are both a national security imperative, and a national commercial imperative. Now, Government Security News notes that the Port of Los Angeles has purchased a sophisticated high-energy X-ray security scanning system from a Chinese manufacturer. Its stated purpose makes it a bit player in the port’s operations: inspect trucks delivering food, groceries and other supplies to cruise ships that dock in LA.
What raised more eyebrows was the identity of the Chinese manufacturer. NUCTECH is run by 37 year old Hu Haifeng, the son of PRC President and Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao. System requirements include the ability to capture, store and transmit 25,000 or more X-ray images and associated documents for remote viewing, and it will be paid for with a $1.7 million port security grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
NUCTECH has won business in Europe, and now in America, by significantly underpricing its competitors. That was also true in Los Angeles, where their $1.9 million bid fronted by DULY Research Inc. in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA beat competitors Smiths GE Detection ($2.7 million) and Rapiscan ($2.9 million). That pricing, and the vendor, have both caused some controversy, but the port is sticking by its guns. Read “Port of L.A. buys Chinese X-ray scanning system with U.S. taxpayer money” for more background and details.