Transnet speaks of ‘significant progress’ in restoring systems

A container ship and a tug are seen in Durban’s port in this file image. Image: Liza Watkins

State-owned logistics giant Transnet said on Tuesday that it has made “significant progress” in restoring its IT systems, with most affected applications up and running by yesterday.

The company, which still hasn’t formally stated in any media communication that it was the victim of a cyberattack, expects that some applications “may continue to run slowly over the next few days, while monitoring continues”.

“All operating systems will be brought back in a staggered manner, to minimise further risks and interruptions,” it said. “At the ports, each container terminal has communicated its transition plan from manual operation to the full Navis-driven operation.”

Port terminals are “berthing vessels as planned and facilitating loading and discharge operations with the shipping lines”.

“We will continue to work directly with shipping lines to facilitate maximum import evacuation and further exports planned for future vessels. Controls have been developed, in conjunction with the shipping lines and customs, to ensure safe clearance and evacuation of each container.”

Force majeure

It was reported earlier on Tuesday that Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) on Monday declared force majeure following last week’s cyberattack. Transnet originally described the attack as a “disruption on its IT network”, although a TPT letter to customers spoke of “an act of cyberattack, security intrusion and sabotage”. It’s not clear why Transnet is shying away from using the term “cyberattack” — a company spokeswoman did not immediately answer a question about this on Tuesday.

Transnet said in its latest update that it expects the force majeure situation “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.

“We have requested customers with cross-border traffic and where the South African Revenue Service (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.”

The company said it has paid employees for July and it was “never a doubt that as an organisation we will not honour our obligation to our employees”. – © 2021 NewsCentral Media

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