Container traffic frozen at APM-Maersk terminals on both U.S. coasts

By John Bendel, Land Line editor-at-large | 6/28/2017

The AP Moller-Maersk terminal at Port Elizabeth, N.J., one of the four largest at the sprawling Port of New York and New Jersey will be closed Thursday for a third consecutive day. Word came in an announcement from the Port Authority. The closure follows a massive cyber attack that has affected as many as 2,000 businesses worldwide according to Reuters.

Maersk is the world’s largest maritime carrier with more than 600 container ships that carry almost 16 percent of the world’s seagoing container traffic. The attack on Tuesday hit Maersk’s computer system headquartered in the Netherlands, but the effects rippled through 17 container terminals, including Pier 400 in Los Angeles and APM in Port Elizabeth where Maersk was unable to accept containers.

A reporter for Journal of Commerce told Land Line that port truckers have had to return containers to be stored in carrier yards. Some shippers are diverting cargo to other shipping lines.

This attack is reportedly caused by so-called Petya ransomware that encrypts the data in a computer system and displays a demand for payment of $300 in Bitcoin currency for the decryption key. Some FedEx facilities in Tennessee are affected as is pharmaceutical giant Merck, according to CNET.

A similar attack that affected mostly European businesses in May made the same demand, but experts advised companies not to pay. In most cases, the companies that did pay never received the encryption key. That exploit earned the perpetrators an estimated $150,000 total.

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