Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) on Monday announced a force majeure following the ongoing fallout from a cyber-attack last week which hit the entire Transnet Group, South Africa’s state-run ports operator and freight rail cartel.
TPT’s confidential force majeure (titled ‘Declaration of force majeure for Transnet Port Terminals container terminals in the Ports of Durban, Ngqura, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town – confidential notice to customers’) letter to customers on Monday confirmed that what initially was thought as “disruption on its IT network” was revealed to be “an act of cyber-attack, security intrusion and sabotage”.
The letter which was sent out by TPT chief executive Velile Dube confirms a major blow for Transnet Group, with TPT being one of its major and most strategic units.
TPT operates the container handing facilities at sub-Saharan Africa’s busiest container port in Durban. It also handles the container terminals in Cape Town and the Eastern Cape ports of Ngqura and Port Elizabeth.
For the sixth day, the websites of Transnet and its divisions remained offline at the time of this report.
In an effort to continue to operate key divisions, such as TPT, the group resorted to a manual system. With further trucking delays, especially at the Port of Durban (which handles over 60% of South Africa’s container traffic), TPT seems to have had no option but to institute “force majeure” on Monday.
It adds that this has “resulted in the disruption of TPT normal processes and functions or the destruction or damage of equipment or information”.
The letter further states that “Investigators are currently determining the exact source of the cause of compromise and extent of the ICT data security breach/sabotage.” Transnet is applying all available and practical mitigation measures to limit the impact of the security breach.
A few weeks ago, Global mining giant Rio Tinto Group declared force majeure on customer contracts at Richards Bay Minerals due to the volatile security and escalating violence in parts of South Africa.
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