Aluminum producer hit by “severe” ransomware attack
One of the world’s largest aluminum producers Norsk Hydro was hit by a cyber attack late on Monday evening, bringing parts of its production to a halt. The company was forced to shut down several of its metal extrusion and rolled product plants, while its giant smelters were being operated manually in Norway.
According to the Norwegian National Security Authority (NNSA), the ransomware attack used was a virus known as Lockergoga, which encrypts computer files and demands payment to unlock them. However, the company allegedly intends to deal with this by restoring the files from its extensive backup servers. The attack began in the United States and escalated overnight, infecting the IT systems across a majority of its operations in the US and Europe. Hydro’s production issues pushed aluminum prices to a three-month high on the London Metal Exchange and its shares momentarily fell by as much as 3.4%. The attack highlights the critical importance of strong cyber security as the industry increases automation in its processes and systems, particularly in an industry dominated only by a few firms, leaving it more vulnerable to supply chain disruption.
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Uber Freight en route to Europe
Uber Freight’s global expansion plans are underway as it plans to bring its application to Europe this April. The application, which matches carriers with shippers, is expected to roll out in Europe on Wednesday, starting with the Netherlands. The company announced that local carriers and drivers will be able to book and move loads with Uber freight within the next few weeks.
According to Uber Freight, the European truckload market is currently a $400 billion industry and the 3rd largest in the world next to China and the US. The industry is facing a number of challenges such as a “severe shortage of drivers” and load inefficiencies. CEO Lior Ron wrote that 21 percent of total kilometers travelled by truck drivers are empty runs. “Inefficiency of this scale results in shippers struggling to find available drivers to move their goods”, Ron continued. The company has already made a strong impression on the US: The app has been downloaded over 328,000 times and 12% of 350,000 US operators have completed the Uber Freight onboarding process. Since March of last year, several new programs and features have been introduced, including Uber Freight Plus which offers discounts on services such as fuel, tires and phone plans.
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The most acute driver shortage in decades
A report by the International Road Transport Union (IRU) found that one fifth of driver positions in the European road transport sector are currently unfilled, in what is seen to be the most acute driver shortage in decades. The report’s findings are based on insight from various industry stakeholders and associations and the results of two surveys conducted by the IRU.
Polls from October 2018 to January 2019 revealed a clear driver shortage of 21% in the freight transport sector and 19% in the bus and coach sector. The shortage is only expected to worsen and is predicted to reach 40% in both sectors as demand rises this year. Here are some key figures from the report:
– 57% of male drivers and 63% of female drivers believe the poor image of the profession is stifling recruitment.
– 79% of drivers believe the difficulty of attracting women to the profession is one of the top reasons for the driver shortage. Data from the International Transport Forum shows female drivers make up just 2% of European road transport drivers.
– 70% of drivers aged 25-34 believe the difficulty of attracting young drivers is one of main reasons for the driver shortage.
– 76% of drivers believe that working conditions deter people from entering the profession and 77% think extended periods away from home is a key deterrent.
To read more about the report’s findings, click here.
Have a great weekend.