South Africa: Minister Pravin Gordhan Commends Transnet for Restoring Full Ports Operations

press release

Government announces that there has been a breakthrough following the IT security breach, which occurred on the morning on Thursday 22 July 2021. Transnet has managed to fully restore operations at the Ports, which enables the country supply chain and logistics system to resume normal operations.

The return to operations is good news for the economy, as the Transnet ports and rail system are the backbone of the economy.

The main system responsible for the container operations - the NAVIS N4 terminal operating system - has been fully restored and customers are now able to access the customer links to facilitate imports and exports. The remaining systems will continue to be brought up in a staggered manner, to minimize further risks and interruptions.

Transnet Port Terminals, in collaboration with the shipping lines is facilitating the evacuation of urgent containers for the automotive, FMCG and agricultural sectors.

As of last night the 27th of July, the Durban container terminals are fully functional on NAVIS with a few other interface systems progressing well. This has brought back both the waterside and land side operations and the truck booking system has been activated on the 28th July 2021.

The vessels are operating alongside the berths and the shipping lines and cargo owners have partnered with the terminal management to ensure efficiencies are increasing.

In the Eastern Cape the container operations working with some of the IT functionalities are still being restored and the vessels are working in parallel with the manual processes. The Western Cape is full restored and some of the IT functions still being restored.

On the 29th of July the stack registration will be complete, and this will speed up the evacuation of containers in the Cape Town terminal.

Data has not been compromised in all the Transnet operations.

The Bulk, Break Bulk, Automotive sectors which include Iron Ore, Coal and Manganese, cars and some of the agricultural commodities that use the General Cargo system (GCOS) switched immediately to manual. This resulted in minimal operational disruptions in these operations across the port system.

Rail operations also continue to run on schedule, as per the train plan. Business continuity plans are in place to ensure safe operations during this time.

The Minister of Public Enterprises started interactions with customers jointly with Transnet management and they established a platform for engagement with CEO's and senior representatives of affected companies. This platform enabled timeous communications and feedback from both the customers and Transnet, and enabled exchange of information and of similar experiences faced by other countries and how they resolved such challenges.

As feedback to the daily meetings held between customers and Transnet port management, the customers have expressed their satisfaction on how the process of recovery and contingency planning has been executed. The shipping lines, accounting for 70% of the cargo moving across the ports, have given the assurance that the South African Ports will not be bypassed, and they will continue to work with Transnet during this recovery period.

The preliminary assessment of the cyber-attack indicates that Transnet and its customer data has not been compromised.

Cyber-attacks have been on the increase in the country and globally. Investigations are underway into the events and due process will take place.

Government commends the leadership of the affected companies for their patience while Transnet worked to restore full operations. Credit goes to the Transnet IT teams who have ensured that the systems is restored within a week.

Transnet is accelerating the work on strengthening the weaknesses identified in the IT environment. The force majeure is currently in place and under review with the intention to lift it in the coming days.

The speedy recovery has mitigated against the possible job losses that may have been threatened by a prolonged disruption to the IT systems.

Minister Gordhan commends the hard work that all employees at Transnet have put in to restore full operations at the ports. The Minister and Transnet management would like to thank the industry players who have taken the time to engage, offer support and collaborations during this difficult time.

Further updates will be provided as full functionality is restored.

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