Transnet is experiencing disruptions to its IT systems that are causing outages affecting container terminals at South Africa’s ports around the country.
According to reports, the state-owned logistics company has been hacked, and several key port and freight rail services have been disrupted.
However, Transnet has stated that its freight rail, pipelines, engineering, and property divisions are all reporting normal activity.
Supply chain management company ISS Global Forwarding announced on Twitter that it received information that Transnet was the victim of a cyberattack.
The South African Association of Freight Forwarders has also stated that the Transnet Freight Rail system was hacked, bringing operations to a halt nationwide.
The transnet.net and transnetportterminals.net websites were down at the time of publication.
SA Trucker reported that Transnet was hit by a cyberattack, citing sources who requested to remain anonymous because they are not authorised to speak to the media.
According to the report, all the companies operating under the state-run Transnet SOC Ltd have been affected.
This may include all of its rail, port, and pipeline operations in South Africa.
Transnet’s systems have been offline since before 08:00 on 22 July 2021, the report stated.
A photo sent to the publication by a trucker who reported that they are stuck at the Durban Container Terminal showed Transnet’s kiosks displaying an error message.
“The Help Desk has been contacted. Please wait…” the message stated.
Transnet has asked freight forwarders to hold back on sending trucks to container terminals until further notice.
“Trucks that are already inside the terminal/staging area which are dropping off exports reefers are being processed manually,” Transnet said in a message MyBroadband has seen.
“All trucks collecting imports that have already been loaded & processed when system was still up have already been gated out and released.”
However, import trucks waiting at the terminal to be processed will be cancelled and released from the terminal unless the driver wants to wait at the terminal for the system to come online.
Transnet told freight forwarders that no trucks are being accepted or processed at the check and staging area.
According to Transnet’s statistics for June 2021, it processes 13,135 containers per day at its terminal facilities.
MyBroadband contacted Transnet’s media liaison but went straight to voicemail when trying to reach her mobile phone.
E-mails did not appear to bounce back, but no response was immediately received to emailed queries either.
Attempts to contact the National Ports Authority, Port Terminals, Freight Rail, and Pipelines were all unsuccessful. The phone either didn’t ring, or no one answered.
MyBroadband reached Transnet’s Engineering division in Pretoria, who said that all of their systems are offline and everyone who wasn’t working from home had left the offices.
Despite some disruption in our ICT system, TFR trains are running uninterrupted. pic.twitter.com/TInSazhkmA
— Transnet Freight Rail (@ReliableTFR) July 22, 2021
The state-owned logistics company has posted a statement on Twitter saying that it is experiencing disruptions on some of its IT applications. The source of the problem is still being identified, a spokesperson said.
“All business continuity plans have been activated. Operations across the Group are continuing, with the Freight Rail, Pipelines, Engineering and Property divisions reporting normal activity,” Transnet spokesperson Ayanda Shezi stated.
According to Transnet, port terminals are operational except for container terminals, as the Navis system on the trucking side has been affected.
“In the Eastern Cape, terminal operations have been halted due to inclement weather conditions and will continue manually once it is safe to do so,” said Transnet.
“The Ports Authority continues to operate, and vessels moving in and out of the ports are being recorded manually.”
Transnet said that customers have been made aware of the disruption and are being engaged throughout the process.
“Work is underway to reduce the downtime to ensure that the impacted systems are up and running again as soon as possible.”
Following Transnet’s press release, Navis issued a statement saying that its system was not the source of the disruption affecting Transnet.
Navis said that Transnet shut down all its systems, including the servers running Navis’ N4 application, as a precautionary measure.
“Navis […] is in close contact with the Transnet team as they work to identify and isolate the cause of the disruption and restore operations,” the company stated.