Transnet working ‘around the clock’ to fix IT disruption

23rd July 2021 By: Simone Liedtke - Writer

State-owned Transnet has identified and isolated the source of the disruption to its information technology (IT) systems and says technical teams continue to work “around the clock” to ensure the impact thereof remains minimal.

Transnet on July 22 reported the disruption in some of its IT applications, saying only its container terminals were affected.

As part of efforts to support South African exports, manual port and rail operations continue.

Transnet is prioritising the export of reefer containers, primarily through the Port of Durban, as the citrus season nears its peak.

Two export-bound vessels have started a loading cycle at Pier 2, while a third vessel is discharging imports at Pier 1 and will soon start with the loading of reefer containers.

Since the start of the season in April, reefer container volumes are 12% higher than the same period last year.

In Richards Bay, manual operations continue, while in the Eastern Cape, the East London and Port Elizabeth Container and Auto Terminals are working manually.

The Ngqura Container Terminal continues to be impacted by high swells, which Transnet says also applies to the Cape Town Container Terminal.

All other terminals in the Western Cape are working manually.

In a separate statement on July 23, the Road Freight Association (RFA), however, lamented that the cyber-attack had "crippled the movement of goods", created "massive delays" and contributed to the unreliability of the movement of goods across all modes of transport – with road freight bearing the brunt of the impact.

The RFA also bemoaned the manual approach that Transnet had been forced to take, saying it had led to gates at ports being closed, meaning no trucks wee moving in either direction, which had the immediate effect of increasingly longer queues, delayed deliveries and congestion.

The manual processes being used were also creating problems in terms of operations, the RFA said, especially considering that road freight operators "already have a huge backlog resulting from last week’s civil unrest".

The delays at the port would further exacerbate the problem, and deliveries would become unreliable and unpredictable, thereby adding further inefficiencies into the supply chain, warned RFA CE Gavin Kelly.

"The system needs to be adapted to ensure this sort of thing cannot happen in future. In the meantime, an alternative system (even if manual) needs to be put in place to ensure freight keeps moving into and out of the ports," he urged.