Transnet Port Terminals confirms major security breach, declares force majeure


State-owned ports and freight rail company Transnet’s websites have been down for a week. This followed reports that a cyber-attack had affected Transnet Port Terminals (TPT). The state agency downplayed its seriousness, initially calling it a ‘disruption on its IT network’. Now we know it’s a full-blown security threat, thanks to a force majeure notice sent to its customers this week. 

According to Moneyweb, which has access to a copy of the confidential letter, it states that the recent hack was “an act of cyber-attack, security intrusion and sabotage.” The notice has since been confirmed by industry sources and was sent out by TPT chief executive Velile Dube. 

Transnet-work down

Of course, losing access to the IT networks of the country’s container ports, freight and goods delivery and rail systems could prove detrimental to many goods-related industries in the country. “This confirms a major blow for Transnet Group, with TPT being one of its biggest and most important divisions,” Moneyweb reports

Following the initial breach (or ‘security intrusion’), the group started working on a manual system to operate its key divisions (including TPT). Recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal didn’t help either, forcing truck delays on routes around the Port of Durban. 

Obviously, this was the perfect storm to force Transnet’s hand and institute the force majeure on Monday, essentially preventing the company from fulfilling its duties to various customers. At the time of writing, there’s no detail on how extensive the security breach is or how Transnet is dealing with it.


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