In a digital age, where everyone’s systems are connected and data exchanged electronically, an incident like the Maersk cyber-attack generates a sea of concerns. From shipping giants like Maersk to the Operations Manager of a medium-sized business, everyone is buckling down to keep or regain control of sea freight shipping schedules.

For Operations Managers, risks seem high and they are aware the shipping industry will take time to get back on track. Ensuring this does not disrupt the company’s supply chain or impact growth and profits is crucial.

Read on to learn how you can keep or regain control of your sea freight shipping schedules after major incidents like the Maersk cyber-attack.

Check the preparedness of your pipeline

By assessing how well-positioned you are to weather disruption, an Operations Manager can gain insights and identify key impacted operations. Checking the preparedness of your pipeline also allows you to push or delay processes in other departments where necessary.

Perhaps, some part of your supply chain may remain unaffected by these kinds of incidents. Those parts of the pipeline do not need to be prioritised. Taking alternate routes, avoiding impacted ports, delaying goods that have lesser demand and advanced space booking are all strategies that can assist in continuing to meet schedules.

Shipping critical goods first

The Maersk cyber-attack has stretched resources and made importing and exporting more complex for Logistics solutions Managers. Challenges like space constraints, high shipping rates and inefficient communication are also constantly faced. This has forced Logistics and Operations Managers to ship critical items first to minimise losses and ensure the availability of high priority goods.

Continuously identifying high-priority items, finding space on multiple sea and air freight carriers and dividing loads among them are all key to this approach. Not only can this assist your business weather the storm, if more Logistics Managers take this approach the entire industry can benefit from avoiding congestion and regaining normal operations more quickly. Professional freight forwarders can also play a significant role by communicating with their customers to confirm that space allocations are accurate.

Seek out the latest updates

Major incidents like the Maersk cyber-attack have a huge impact on the shipping industry operationally as well as financially. The entire sea freight industry is continuously working to restore the faith of their customers and is keeping stakeholders up to date on how they are tackling the situation.

Measures being taken include adopting alternate methodologies such as modes of booking, utilising alternate shipping ports and shifting modes of communication. Not being unaware of these updates can cause delays to shipping schedules and compromise your deadlines. So it is important to keep an eye on the market and proactively seek out the latest updates. Australian freight forwarders are keeping their customers updated about all the latest developments to assist with better planning and preparedness.

Cooperate with the shipping companies till things return to normal

Maersk shipping is the biggest shipping line in the world, operating hundreds of ports and vessels worldwide. The cyber-attack that affected its operations has resulted in heavy shortages of shipping vessels as well as temporarily shutting down some central ports.

This has put an additional workload on other shipping lines to tighten their security to ensure their systems are unaffected by the PETYA or a Petya-like attack. This in turn has an impact on their normal practices and efficiency. It is important for Operations Managers to understand the situation and do their part to provide support by engaging in continuous communication with their freight forwarding and shipping partners until the situation returns to normal.

Incidents like the Maersk cyber-attack have a wide impact on the entire shipping community and its customers. The resultant disruptions in shipping schedules have had a cascading effect on end-to-end customer supply chain cycles.

Uncertain shipping cycles also disturb the end-to-end planning of the supply chain, impacting manufacturing processes, warehousing and transportation capacities, and sales planning – creating chaos for some businesses. Partnering with an experienced sea freight forwarder who can provide expert knowledge and support can be of major benefit for worried Operations Managers. They are your ally in fighting a situation like this, enabling you to efficiently regain control of your sea freight operations.

In Short:

Some companies were more and some were less impacted by the cyber-attack on Maersk. Times like these can be challenging for Operations and Logistics Managers. In order to keep your supply chain and flow of product going with no major disruptions for the entire company we suggest the following:

    • Check how prepared your supply pipeline is, even if your supply chain was not impacted. These things can always happen.
    • Plan to ship the most critical goods first, maybe with a different mode of transport. Have a Plan B.
    • Stay up-to-date. By knowing alternatives and have a variety of options at hand you can successfully navigate your company through times like this.
    • Keep up a continuous communication and a close relationship with your freight forwarding partner and shipping company.

For more than a century, BCR has continued to help small, medium and large businesses achieve an optimum logistics solution with warehousing and transportation, including air freight and sea freight services to and from the major ports including BrisbaneSydneyMelbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle (Perth).