The country’s logistics and port operator Transnet was the victim of an apparent cyber hack, with its IT system, websites and Navis container terminal operating system going offline on Thursday morning.
Several concerned stakeholders in the freight industry sounded the alarm after their trucks were not able to access the container terminals at the Durban port.
“There was a memo issued to staff on Thursday morning that their terminal computers had been hacked and it came from the Transnet IT system. They said that they were working on it, but by Thursday afternoon the system was still offline,” said one.
“Some operations, including rail, has gone manual but the end result is that no import containers are able to be processed or loaded on to the trucks.
“After last week’s disaster of the looting and riots, this is catastrophic. If it is an intentional shutdown, it is equal to industrial sabotage and will bring the economy to its knees.”
Another stakeholder told TimesLIVE that long haulers were desperate to deliver cargo to various projects throughout the country.
“We can’t access the containers, and this is bad for our business as long-distance haulers. We can’t get into the queue to collect the cargo because the system can’t generate a place.”
Transnet spokesperson Ayanda Shezi 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. Port terminals are operational across the system, with the exception of container terminals, as the Navis system on the trucking side has been affected.
“In the Eastern Cape, terminal operations have been halted by inclement weather and will continue manually once it is safe to do so. The Ports Authority continues to operate, and vessels moving in and out of the ports are being recorded manually. Customers have been made aware of the disruption and are being engaged throughout the process.”
She said work was under way to reduce the downtime to ensure that the systems are up and running again as soon as possible.