My articles are usually based around positivity. I do like to expand upon the positive nature of what is happening in the shipping and logistics world and by association – trade.

It is always with a specific focus on Tasmania although with a global perspective whenever possible. That said however, I am afraid from time to time, reality kicks in and the rose coloured glasses need to come off for a prescription check.

The world’s largest shipping line, A.P. Moller-Maersk, was hit by a cyber-attack on June 28, 2017. Approximately 90% of world trade is transported on oceans and Maersk carry around 18% of the container trade on the planet.

Overnight, electric Armageddon hit the shipping industry with a total blackout of all of Maersk operations that involved ones and zeros – pretty much everything.

No interface with ships, no ability to receive emails, no manifests, no terminal operations, no bookings, no rates and no documents and not even telephones in some countries – nothing.

At time of writing, it is now 20 days since the day the attack happened and whilst a lot of systems are back up and running, we are still trying to get documents printed, equipment released and rates for various trade lanes with no definitive outcomes.

The cost to Maersk must be enormous – but the cost to world traders must also be horrendous.

In addition to the cyber-attack on Maersk, TNT was also hit.

This company is one of a number of international courier carriers that send commercial documentation around the planet – bills of lading, health certificates, certificates of origin for example all sitting in a tin can in a warehouse somewhere not being able to be scanned to their final destination.

No Bill of Lading – no release of goods. Wharf storage, delayed goods delivery – not a good look. Cadbury’s in Tasmania were hit as well. No one is immune and it would appear that the “hackers” are getting better at what they are doing.

It is an interesting, if not somewhat daunting, time on the planet at the moment.

That flutter of butterfly wings can very much impact us down here at the bottom of the planet.

One ship being delayed discharge means the ship behind is also delayed.

The late payment of a trade invoice means less money in the chain for development.

I know that insurance companies are getting more enquires for cyber-attack coverage.

I would suspect that at some point, not that far away, cyber-security will be a “tender” chapter just as important and OH&S and sustainability.

I suggest you get this on your radar now.

By Agility Logistics Tasmanian General Manager, Brett Charlton