Partners in container supply chains need to develop contingency plans, in the near-certainty that the industry will be hit by another cyber-attack.

At last week’s TPM event in Long Beach, SeaIntelligence Consulting chief executive Lars Jensen warned: “There will be another successful cyber-attack in the next 24 months.

“Even though some action has been galvanised by the Petya attack, the level of cyber-attacks out there is going up.

“It is important to remember that it wasn’t Maersk that was attacked; Maersk was collateral damage of an attack on the Ukrainian government and it is exceedingly likely we will see a repeat.

“You can beef up your cyber defences, but the most important thing is to make sure you have some sort of contingency plan in place,” he said.

Jochen Gutschmidt, head of global logistics procurement at Nestrade, revealed that the confectionary manufacturer discovered it was far more exposed to disruption in the wake of the Petya attack than it had anticipated.

“On that day last year we had 8,000 containers with Maersk Line. We already had a business continuity plan for a carrier going down, but the attack went beyond that, because it demonstrated that there was a group impact and we had boxes in APM Terminals and with Damco.

“Also, some of our other carriers had our boxes on Maersk Line vessels, and when the disaster hit Maersk, we were looking for all our shipments under their control. But it turned out to be a group issue and, as the disaster unfolded, it became apparent that there were actually 14,000 containers caught up.

“Our distribution in the Nordic region was handled by Damco, while our imports through an APM Terminals facility in New York were frozen.”

Mr Gutschmidt added that the experience had “totally changed the way we look at business continuity”.

He added: “We do audits on the systems of our critical supply chain partners and external vendors, but the bad guys are always going to be one step ahead. It’s good that we do these audits, but the most important this is to have good contingency plans.”

One immediate solution was to use booking platforms in parallel with direct bookings with carriers, suggested president and chief operating office of INTTRA Inna Kuznetsova.

“We would advise shippers that even if you are booking directly with carriers, you should also do bookings through a platform, so that is already mapped,” she said.

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