South Africa’s state-owned ports and freight-rail company, Transnet, on Tuesday said it had made ’significant progress’ in restoring its IT systems after disruptions caused by a cyber attack. Photo: File
South Africa’s state-owned ports and freight-rail company, Transnet, on Tuesday said it had made ’significant progress’ in restoring its IT systems after disruptions caused by a cyber attack. Photo: File

Force majeure will soon be lifted after crippling cyber attack, Transnet says

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Jul 27, 2021

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SOUTH African state-owned ports and freight-rail company, Transnet, on Tuesday said it had made “significant progress” in restoring its IT systems after disruptions caused by a cyber attack.

“Significant progress has been made in restoring Transnet IT systems, with most of the affected applications up by Monday, 26 July 2021. It is expected that some applications may continue to run slowly over the next few days, while monitoring continues,” said spokesperson Ayanda Shezi.

“All operating systems will be brought back in a staggered manner, to minimise further risks and interruptions.

“At the ports, each container terminal has communicated its transition plan from manual operation to the full Navis-driven operation. The terminals are berthing vessels as planned and facilitating loading and discharge operations with the shipping lines.”

Shezi said Transnet would continue to work with shipping lines in order to facilitate maximum import evacuation and further exports planned for future vessels.

“Controls have been developed, in conjunction with the shipping lines and Sars’ Customs division to ensure safe clearance and evacuation of each container.”

The force majeure, communicated by Transnet Port Terminals on Monday to customers, covering the period from July 22 this year, is expected to be lifted soon.

“The business continuity plans have enabled Transnet Freight Rail to continue utilising manual backup operations, and run trains as planned. We wish to assure stakeholders and customers that all processes followed allow for the safe operation of trains,” Shezi said.

“We have requested customers with cross-border traffic and where the Sars clearance process is applicable, to submit hard copies of the Sars clearance documentation with their consignment noted at the Order Entry Office/Terminals. This will assist in the manual system application to authorise the departure of trains.”

Shezi said the salaries of Transnet employees had been processed on schedule, and there was never doubt that the state-owned enterprise would honour its obligation to its employees.

“Transnet will continue to engage and collaborate with affected customers. A further update will be provided once full operations resume,” said Shezi.

Independent Media reported that South Africa’s “Gateway to Africa” status hangs in the balance after the cyber attack on Transnet last week severely disrupted its operations.

On Friday, the Road Freight Association (RFA) confirmed a second day of a logjam at the Durban and Cape Town ports, pointing out that the massive delays had created unreliability of the movement of goods across all modes of transport – with road freight bearing the brunt of the impact.

“The manual processes being used are also creating problems in terms of operations. Road freight operators already have a huge backlog resulting from last week’s civil unrest. The delays at the port will further exacerbate the problem. Deliveries will become unreliable and unpredictable, adding further inefficiencies into the supply chain,” RFA chief executive Gavin Kelly said.

“The system needs to be adapted to ensure this sort of thing cannot happen in future. In the meantime, an alternative system, even if manual, needs to be put in place.”

African News Agency

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