South Africa’s Transnet says will soon lift force majeure after cyberattack


South African state logistics firm Transnet said it would soon lift a force majeure for its container terminals that it declared following a cyberattack that disrupted operations.

The cyberattack, which has hampered container terminals at Transnet’s ports from Thursday, could cause backlogs and hobble the region’s exports of goods to international markets.

Force majeure is a contractual clause invoked when factors outside a company’s control render it unable to meet its commitments to customers.

A document sent to customers and dated on Monday said the force majeure would be implemented with immediate effect.

It would impact container terminals in Durban, Ngqura, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town due to “an act of cyberattack, security intrusion and sabotage” which has disrupted normal processes and continues to persist.

Transnet said in a statement the force majeure, which covered the period from 22 July, would be lifted soon as it had made significant progress in restoring its IT systems. It did not specify a date.

Transnet’s official website was still down and showing an error message on Tuesday.

Transnet said in the notice that it was putting mitigation measures in place, including the manual loading and discharge of containers, to ensure continued operations at the container terminals although at a slower pace.

Some employees not involved in running operations were forced to take leave while the company resolved issues related to the cyber attack, two sources with direct knowledge said.

Transnet said it would honour salary payments to its employees.

The company, which operates major South African ports, including Durban and Cape Town as well as a railway network that transports minerals and other commodities for export, confirmed its IT applications were experiencing disruptions last week.