Terming the 2017 cyber-attack as an “extremely difficult” episode, global shipping giant Maersk Line has said it has invested in network to ensure that its operations here do not get impacted by any such global breach in the future. “We have revised our system architecture to reduce some amount of the risks,” it’s India managing director Steve Felder told PTI here. “If there is a future attack, we would be able to contain it locally,” he added. He said the June 2017 ransom-ware attack, which started due to a breach in Ukraine and impacted the systems of parent APM Group’s all companies, was “extremely difficult”. The “silver-lining”, Felder said, was how all the key stakeholders, including customers, authorities and employees reacted to the attack, he said. Overnight, the company switched over to operating in a manual way from the computer-based systems, while some customers supported them by increasing their bookings with us, he said. “We had business continuity plans, we will be revising them again because I think in some markets they could have been better,” Felder said. He said the increased investments will not impact its finances in India, which he termed as a significantly important market that contributes around 8 per cent of the global volume for the company. At present, the company is the biggest container line operator serving India with a 19 per cent market share of the entire container volume sailing in and out of the domestic shores, he claimed. “India has both growth and scale, unique for the container market here,” he said, adding they do not have any investment plans here. He said there is a lot of traffic concentration on the country’s West Coast, while the East Coast sees lower volumes despite newer assets which have come up there.
When asked about transshipment ambitions of India, and how it is placed vis-a-vis Colombo, the largest such port in the vicinity, Felder said there is considerable work required. “We are monitoring developments on the South Coast. If there is a viable port built there, obviously, we will consider it,” he said. It can be noted that India is currently developing an international transshipment terminal at Vizhinjam in Kerala which will address this opportunity. Though the Cochin international transshipment terminal in Kochi has been operational labour issues and lower volumes have ensured that the terminal does not succeed. While the upcoming Vizhinjam terminal is being developed by the Adani group, the Kochi terminal is a JV between the state-run Cochin port trust and the DP World. “You have to have the sufficient capacity and draft so that you can cater for the large vessels. Second thing is you have to have the customs framework in place and it should be cost competitive,” he said. Felder said from a margin perspective, India is more favourable.