Trucks are continuing to line up along Virginia Street as APM Terminals pushes forward with manual operations despite its IT systems being compromised in a widespread cyber attack targeting several European entities earlier this week.Tuesday night’s cyber attack, which has had global ramifications, affected Russia’s top oil producer, Rosneft, along with several banks in Ukraine.
Another of its targets was Netherlands-based A.P. Moller-Maersk — the parent company of shipping giant Maersk and its port operator APM Terminals.
According to Dutch news reports, the IT systems at 17 container terminals run by APM Terminals were implicated in the cyber attack, including one at the Port of Mobile.
Alabama State Port Authority spokeswoman Judith Adams told Lagniappe that, despite that, APM’s local leadership opted to open terminals to incoming ground shipments Wednesday morning, where workers have been processing trucks entering and exiting the terminal manually.
“That’s a much slower process, but a process nonetheless. Commerce has continued,” Adams said. “The next ship is not due in port until Friday, so they’re not having to deal with the shipping side of things, they’re just dealing with inbound and outbound trucks at the gate right now.”
Typically, APM utilizes a number of technological systems to scan and evaluate incoming trucks entering the terminal. Those include character recognition software systems, inspection cameras and automated scales controlled remotely by human operators.
With the company’s IT systems compromised, though, evaluations and inspections are being performed manually, which is why trucks entering the terminal through its Virginia Street gate has been somewhat backed up since the facility reopened at 7 a.m. yesterday.
While traffic isn’t at a standstill, it is moving slower than normal.
So far, local representatives for APM have made very few comments on what local affects the cyber attack may have had. All press inquiries are being redirected to the company’s corporate headquarters in the The Hague, which Lagniappe has so far been unsuccessful in contacting.
While the slowdown has affected APM’s typical schedule, the facility in Mobile was actually one of if not the first terminal to resume operations after the cyber attack was first discovered Tuesday night — ahead of APM facilities in New York, New Jersey and Los Angeles.
APM Terminals is one of the several businesses sharing industrial space at the mouth of the port, but Adams said: “there has been absolutely no impacts related to the cyber attack” on the remaining terminals in the Port including the ASPA’s own terminals.
Earlier this year, ASPA itself fell victim to an unrelated “cyber event” that led to hundreds of employee’s personal information being improperly released and at least one termination. That incident had no effect on operations at the port, though.
So far, it’s unclear what type of financial impact the cyber attack may ultimately have on the shipping company’s global and local operations, but according to its Twitter feed, APM has already started the process of trying to solve its remaining IT issues.
“Terminals impacted by the cyber attack have implemented business continuity plans,” APM tweeted this morning. “Our operation teams are in the process of carefully implementing IT solutions that will restore full operations.”
In the meantime, vehicles are moving slower than usual near the Virginia Street ramp to I-10, though the Mobile Police Department does have officers in the area assisting with the additional traffic.