As CMA CGM’s IT engineers continue, for the fifth day, to try to restore its systems following a cyber-attack at the weekend, the French carrier has come under mounting criticism from customers that its back-up booking process is inadequate.

In a statement, the carrier said its back-offices and shared services centers are gradually being reconnected to the network, thus improving bookings and documentation processing times.

And it reiterated that bookings could still be made through the INTTRA portal, as well as manually via an Excel form attached to an email.

However, Australian forwarder and shipper representatives, the Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) and Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA), described the measures as ‘failing to adequately provide contingency services’.

John Park, Head of Business Operations at FTA/APSA, said its members ought to be due compensation from the carrier and its subsidiary, Australia National Line, which operates some 14 services to Australia, according to the eSea liner database.

“FTA/APSA has reached out again to senior CMA CGM management to seek advice as to when we can expect full service to be re-instated, implementation of workable contingency arrangements and acceptance that extra costs incurred, as a result of the systems outages, will be reimbursed by CMA CGM,” he noted.

He said feedback from FTA/APSA members highlighted continuing issues, including, in many cases, customer service and/or sales representatives are not responding to phone calls, members’ calls to CMA CGM’s national 1800 number goes to a recorded message saying ‘message bank is full, please call again later’, and that ‘email communication to the generic email supplied seeking information/electronic delivery orders (EDOs) etc, is slow’.

Given CMA CGM’s ownership of ANL and its importance in the country’s container trades, the IT outage has heaped more misery on shippers and forwarders trying to clear a substantial cargo backlog created by the recent industrial action in Sydney’s container terminals, he said.

“We have seen the temporary resolution of stevedore/MUA issues, however, we now face the inability to move containers due to the slow release of EDOs/invoices,” Park added.

Many in the industry have been quick to compare CMA CGM’s response to cyber-attack with that of Maersk’s to the 2017 NotPetya cyber-attack.