Two separate people, who asked not to be named, confirmed to Business Maverick that the port division had declared force majeure across all its container terminals.
The contractual clause means Transnet absolves itself of any liability for not being able to provide promised services to its clients due to an “act of God”. The clause is normally invoked for catastrophic events, such as natural disasters, warfare, or in this case a cyber attack.
Trasnet said it was still working on a statement when contacted for comment.
The state firm has yet to name the source of the cyber attack, whether any ransom has been demanded, or how deep the infiltration of sensitive information goes, but the result has been that its port divisions cannot digitally track and account for the thousands of goods containers that enter and leave the country’s ports on a daily basis.
Performing this operation manually has resulted in long delays.
TPT’s operations include handling imports and export of cars, goods containers, bulk and break bulk such as manufacturing and construction equipment, as well as fresh produce and and mining minerals like platinum, gold, and manganese that have driven South Africa’s record commodity exports this year.
Two weeks ago, at the height of the unrest and looting that hit KWaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, Transnet declared force majeure on its critical Natcor rail line that connects Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. It was able to resume operations on the line a few days later. BM/DM