India's largest container port disrupted by global cyber attack

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Operations at one of three terminals at India’s largest container port JNPT, near the commercial hub of Mumbai, have been disrupted by the global ransomware attack, the port said on Wednesday.

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The affected terminal is operated by Danish shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk, which said on Tuesday that the cyber attack had caused outages in its computer systems globally.

Clients were notified on Wednesday morning that vessel operations at the terminal would be hit and that the company could not say when normal services would resume, according to one shipping industry source.

In a note to global clients, Maersk said: “Access to most ports is not impacted, however some APM Terminals are affected and gates are closed.”

The port has been trying to clear containers manually, but operational capacity has dropped to a third at the terminal, Anil Diggikar, chairman of Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT), told Reuters on Wednesday morning.

“This is fallout of global cyber attack. We are hopeful that operations will normalize in a day,” he said.

Containers are piling up outside the port due to the delay in loading and unloading at Gateway Terminals India, he said.

The Indian government said on Wednesday it had sent Gulshan Rai, India’s national cyber security coordinator, to JNPT to deal with the situation.

It warned that the disruptions could lead to “bunching of in-bound and out-bound container cargo,” and truck congestion around the port.

The operations of an adjourning terminal were also slightly affected by congestion at the Maersk Terminal, said two shipping industry sources.

In a securities filing, Gujarat Pipavav Port, located about 175 miles northwest of JNPT, said it is also working to “limit the impact” at its site.

Pipavav, which is also operated by APM Terminals, did not provide detail on the extent of the impact at its site, but a spokeswoman for APM said the port was “partially impacted.”

The cyber attack, similar to the ransomware that infected more than 300,000 computers last month, also affected computers at Russia’s biggest oil company, Ukranian banks and numerous other multinational firms.

Maersk, which handles one in seven containers shipped worldwide, told Reuters on Wednesday it was unable to process new orders after being hit by the cyber attack.

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav and Euan Rocha; Editing by Neil Fullick and Adrian Croft