Ransomware Attacks Halts Shipping Giant Maersk in Its Tracks

Jun 28, 2017

Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk, owner of the world's largest container shipper Maersk Line, has been hit by the global Petya cyber attack, preventing it from accepting new orders.

The cyber extortion campaign, which has disrupted businesses around the world, has also caused congestion at some of the 76 port terminals run by Maersk's APM Terminals unit, including in the United States, India, Spain and the Netherlands.

"Right now, at this hour, we're not able to take new orders," Maersk Line Chief Commercial Officer Vincent Clerc told Reuters on Wednesday.

"It will have an impact on vessels or cargo that loaded yesterday, today and maybe also tomorrow," he said.

He said some delays could not be avoided but declined to say how widespread they were.

Due to limited access to some of its computer systems, Maersk also has problems processing orders taken just before the breakdown, he said.

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Maersk could not say exactly when it expects its business to return to normal, he said, adding that it was too early to assess the economic impact.

When the attack began, on Tuesday afternoon in Europe, the company decided to take down a number of systems as a precaution. The company is working on a technical recovery plan, Clerc said.

For now, Maersk is using alternative channels to take orders manually and to communicate with customers, he said.

He said no data had been lost due to the cyber attack, and that the company would be able to resume operations "right away" once the issues were solved.

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Paul Tsui, managing director of one of Maersk's clients, Hong Kong-based logistics company Janel Group, said in an email sent to Reuters that "the system of Maersk has been shut down and not able to (be accessed) since late evening yesterday. Therefore, all booking, information submission (..) are affected."

Sydbank analyst Morten Imsgaard said the situation would not be tenable for Maersk "for many days." "It could have a large economic impact for the company, although it depends on how soon it will be able to get its systems running again," Imsgaard said.

The Danish conglomerate has said that operations at some of APM Terminals' 76 port terminals around the world, including Los Angeles, were affected.

A spokeswoman for the Port in Barcelona said on Wednesday that one of the two big container terminals run by Maersk was affected.

A Maersk-operated terminal at India's largest container port JNPT, near Mumbai, has been disrupted by the cyber attack, the port said on Wednesday.

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The Port of New York & New Jersey said in a tweet on Tuesday that APM's Terminal would be closed on Wednesday.

Two terminals in Rotterdam, one of Europe's busiest ports, have also been affected, Dutch broadcaster RTV Rijnmond reported on Tuesday.

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