Transnet to bring back IT systems in staggered manner

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Transnet says significant progress has been made in restoring its IT systems, with most of the affected applications up yesterday.

The state-owned company issued a statement on social media this morning giving an update on the disruption of its IT systems since last week.

Although Transnet has not officially acknowledged that if fell victim to a cyber attack, it reportedly confirmed so, as Transnet Port Terminals declared force majeure on Monday after the incident.

In law, force majeure relates to “unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract”.

The reports say a confidential force majeure letter to customers on Monday confirmed it is “an act of cyber attack, security intrusion and sabotage”.

In its statement today, the state-owned company says: “A force majeure communicated by Transnet Port Terminals on 26 July 2021 to customers covering the period from 22 July 2021 is expected to be lifted soon.”

Amid the predicament, ITWeb reported today that Transnet is asking some of its employees to take forced leave as they can’t work because of the disruptions to the firm’s IT systems.

The company was also working relentlessly to ensure employees are paid their salaries today.

Regarding the payment of salaries, the company says: “The salaries of Transnet employees have been processed on schedule; there was never any doubt that as an organisation, we will not honour our obligation to our employees.”

The state-owned rail, port and pipeline company expects that some applications may continue to run slowly over that next few days, while monitoring continues.

“All operating systems will be brought back in a staggered manner to minimise further risks and interruptions.”

According to the firm, at the ports, each container terminal has communicated its transition plan from manual operation to the full Navis-driven operation.

It notes that the terminals are berthing vessels as planned and facilitating loading and discharge operations with the shipping lines.

“We will continue working directly with shipping lines in order to facilitate maximum import evacuation and further exports planned for future vessels. Controls have been developed in conjunction with the shipping lines and SARS’s [South African Revenue Service’s] Customs division to ensure safe clearance and evacuation of each container.

“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 SARS clearance process is applicable, to submit hard copy of the SARS clearance documentation with their consignment noted at the Order Entry Office / Terminals. This will assist the manual terminal application to authorise the departure of trains.

“Transnet will continue to engage and collaborate with affected customers,” it concludes.

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