It’s been days since Transnet was disrupted by what it has now confirmed as a cyberattack.
The South African state entity has now communicated that it is making progress with restoring hacked systems. However, the national operator's website is still down, giving an indication that even the simple part is hard to resolve for Transnet.
Communication to both staff and clients highlights the severity of the challenge faced by Transnet. According to recent media reports on Monday staff were requested to take leave until Thursday.
Transnet has also given a further indication of the seriousness of the attack by issuing a force majeure at major container terminals in the country.
The document sent to customers and dated on Monday said the force majeure would be implemented with immediate effect. It would impact container terminals in Durban, Ngqura, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town due to “an act of cyberattack, security intrusion and sabotage” which has disrupted normal processes and “continues to persist”.
The Road Freight Association (RFA) has expressed concern about the cyber-attack on Transnet. The association has indicated that the Transnet hack is creating massive delays and creating unreliability of the movement of goods across all modes of transport – with road freight bearing the brunt of the impact.
The implications for South Africa, both in the short- and long term, are serious. The past five years have seen SA ports deteriorating further. In a World Bank report issued earlier this year, the Port of Durban was listed as one of the three worst ports in the world – out of 351 ports that were assessed. According to the association, the effects of the cyber-attack are going to result in further reputational damage to South Africa. Industry experts have indicated that the country’s status as the ‘Gateway to Africa’ for the import and export of goods will be severely damaged.