Maersk suffers massive cyber attack

6/29/2017

The world’s largest container shipping group Maersk has been hit by a major cyber attack that is affecting a number of major companies around the world, with Maersk’s IT systems down across multiple sites and business units.

In a statement this morning, parent company A.P. Møller-Mærsk confirmed that Maersk had been “hit as part of a global cyber attack named Petya on the 27 June 2017”, adding: “We have contained the issue and are working on a technical recovery plan with key IT-partners and global cyber security agencies. We have shut down a number of systems to help contain the issue.”

As of this morning, subsidiaries Maersk Oil, Maersk Drilling, Maersk Supply Services, Maersk Tankers, Maersk Training, Svitzer and MCI are not operationally affected, although the group said precautionary measures have been taken to ensure continued operations.

“Maersk Line vessels are maneuverable, able to communicate and crews are safe,” the company said. “APM Terminals is impacted in a number of ports.”

Maersk's terminals division, APM Terminals, has been forced to halt operations at its fully automated Maasvlakte II terminal in Rotterdam, which it blamed on the cyber attack. 

A spokesman for the Port of Rotterdam stressed that the other terminals at the port, representing 75% of Rotterdam’s container volumes, were operating normally, and the Port of Rotterdam Authority had not been targeted in the attack. He told Lloyd’s Loading List that the port was currently calm, with no signs of jams of backlogs.

Without wishing to downplay the seriousness of the attack on A.P. Møller-Mærsk and the impact on the APMT facility in Rotterdam, he said it was not uncommon for container terminals to be taken out of action for short periods, for example due to bad weather, and customers generally understood the kinds of contingency plans to put in place in order to minimise disruptions. For example, some vessels may be diverted to alternative terminals, and truck drivers would be informed not to come to the terminal to pick up or deliver containers.

The attack, which was first noted in Ukraine, has hit a number of companies there, including Rosneft, but has also reportedly affected global advertising giant WPP, which is based in the UK.

Lloyd’s Loading List understands that the cyber attack has had some impact on DHL in Ukraine and also on FedEx (TNT) operations in the country.

A DHL spokesperson told Lloyd’s Loading List: “Our DHL Express systems in Ukraine have been partially impacted by the cyber-attack, which has affected a range of organizations in Ukraine. DHL Global Forwarding, Freight and DHL Supply Chain are not affected.

“We have deployed contingency measures in order to process inbound and outbound shipments. We are working to address the issue and to reinstate the systems which have been affected. We will keep customers informed of the issue.”

Meanwhile, A.P. Møller-Mærsk said this morning that it was continuing “to assess and manage the situation to minimize the impact on our operations, customers and partners from the current situation, adding: “Business continuity plans are being implemented and prioritized. The aggregate impact on our business is being assessed.”

Maersk has been at the forefront of shipping’s push towards digitalisation. It takes 98% of its bookings over digital channels and has been a strong proponent of new technologies such as Blockchain.

Any IT failure will come as a severe blow to the company and to APM Terminals, which has invested heavily in automated technologies, particularly at Maasvlakte II, and will call into question the safety and security of online and automated services.

“The safety of our employees, our operations and our customers’ business is our top priority,” Maersk said.

Maersk said it would continue to provide updates via Twitter.