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Port Operator Chips Away at Freight Backlog in Australia After Crippling Cyber Attack


Following a devastating cyberattack and ongoing labor strikes, one of the world’s largest port operators is slowly making progress in clearing a backlog of over 20,000 freight containers at Australian ports. Since early Monday morning, the company has managed to move fewer than 5,400 containers from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Fremantle ports, reducing the logjam to approximately 25,000 containers.

To expedite the process, the company is exploring various options, although specific details have not been disclosed. However, it is anticipated that it may take several weeks for operations to return to normal. Typically, the company handles around 6,000 containers per day at a single port, highlighting the significant impact of the current situation.

The slow progress can be attributed to the combined effects of the network shutdown over the weekend and ongoing strikes by company workers. This prolonged fallout demonstrates how even a contained cyberattack can severely hinder a company as it investigates the incident and implements additional network security measures.

Members of the Maritime Union of Australia have planned 35 separate strikes at the company’s port terminals this week, ranging from one-hour work stoppages to a full-day strike in Sydney on Friday. The union is demanding 8% annual pay increases over a two-year period and claims that the strikes are coordinated across the company’s network, although they rarely coincide. These strikes are estimated to reduce the company’s capacity in Australia by 10% to 20%. The union argues that the strikes are necessary because the company has refused to engage in negotiations.

The company spokesperson acknowledged that the union’s actions are exacerbating an already challenging situation for the company. As the latest victim in a series of high-profile cyberattacks this year, the maritime trade giant is facing significant obstacles in restoring normal operations.

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