Cyber attack hits shipper Maersk, causes cargo delays

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - The Danish owner of the world’s largest container shipper Maersk Line, said its computer systems were among those hit by the global Petya cyber attack, causing it problems processing orders and delaying cargoes.

The Maersk ship Adrian Maersk is seen as it departs from New York Harbor in New York City, U.S., June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

A.P. Moller-Maersk MAERSKb.CO said the cyber extortion, which has disrupted businesses around the globe, has also led to congestion at some of the 76 ports run by its APM Terminals unit, including in the United States, India, Spain and the Netherlands.

“It will have an impact on vessels or cargo that loaded yesterday, today and maybe also tomorrow,” Maersk Line Chief Commercial Officer Vincent Clerc told Reuters on Wednesday.

Due to limited access to some of its computer systems, Maersk, which handles one out of seven containers shipped worldwide, also has problems processing orders taken just before the breakdown, Clerc said.

When the attack began, on Tuesday afternoon in Europe, Maersk 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.

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 Maersk’s system was shut down and had not been accessible for bookings since late yesterday evening.

Sydbank analyst Morten Imsgaard said the situation would not be tenable for Maersk “for many days” and it could have a large economic impact for the company depending on how soon it will be up and running.

Maersk said operations at some APM Terminals’ around the world, including Los Angeles, were affected.

A spokeswoman for the Port in Barcelona said one of the two big container terminals run by Maersk was affected. At the Spanish port of Algeciras, operations at one of two terminals run by APM Terminals has been down since Tuesday, a spokeswoman said.

A Maersk-operated terminal at India’s largest container port JNPT, near Mumbai, has also been disrupted, the port said on Wednesday.

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

In Aarhus, the biggest container terminal in Maersk’s home country Denmark, APM Terminals was using alternative methods of communication when loading and offloading vessels.

“We have found a solution where we work outside the Maersk network,” said Steen Davidsen, managing director at the terminal, told Reuters.

“It’s not quite so fast, but at least we can operate and customers can be serviced,” he said.

Two APM terminals in Rotterdam, Europe’s busiest port, are still out of commission. A spokesman said knock-on effects for the port as a whole were minimal, with a slight delay in operations.

Reporting by Teis Jensen, additional reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, Paul Day, Keith Wallis and Alexander Cornwell; editing by Adrian Croft and Elaine Hardcastle