South African businesses are faced with a huge bill, estimated at R1.4-billion, for storage and demurrage costs accumulated during the 27 days of Level 5 lock down, as more than 20 000 containers piled up in storage facilities.
This week, the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) CEO David Logan expressed ‘serious concern’ at the high level of charges being invoiced by shipping lines for storage and demurrage on cargo which could not be delivered during the early stages of lock down.
“SAAFF represents 294 South African companies in the international freight forwarding and customs broking arena managing approximately 70% of the containerised and break-bulk freight moving in and out of South Africa’s seaports, airports and land borders,” he says.
“Until recently, containers could not legally be delivered to closed importers until the appropriate lock down level was reached. As a result, cargo was delivered and unpacked into warehouses. In many cases the position remains the same with Level 3 only making its presence felt this week”.
“The level of charges levied by ocean carriers have been a source of concern for many years, but in normal times there was some justification for this, as it was generally speaking relatively easy to clear and deliver containers within the free time allowed. Under these circumstances it was reasonable for the carriers to expect that their containers should be returned and put back into service without delay,” Logan points out.
“COVID-19 has changed all that. The extended time spent in Levels 5 and 4 has meant that large numbers of containers could not be delivered, with the situation only recently easing up when Level 4 allowed a limited amount of movement. The move to Level 3 will mean that a further large quantity of containers will be released for delivery, so we can expect increasing pressure in terms of exorbitant detention costs. Even at this stage, the amounts involved are very high and we are aware of invoices running into many millions of Rand already.”.
Logan warns that this will not improve for some time.
Shipping line charges for delayed containers are derived from two main areas: storage (or overstay) and demurrage (or detention). The first usually involves a mark-up often running into several hundred percent of the warehouse’s charge. The second is a direct charge for loss of use of the container. This is always charged in US Dollars at rates which bear no relation whatsoever to the actual cost of owning or leasing a container.
“In reality, these charges were designed to penalise inefficiency rather than to recover costs,” continues Logan. “There is no logical reason why this approach should be applied in our current circumstances”.
“We appeal to ocean carriers to exercise restraint and moderation by recovering only their outlays, although we would accept that some reasonable administrative charge could also be imposed,” Logan concludes.
Over half (59%) of women in South Africa value the photos and videos they store on their phones more than anything else on the device – compared to 43% of men, according to a survey by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International. However, despite over a quarter of women worrying about the online safety of these images, many still fail to implement even basic security measures.
The study globally also found that while women are more likely than men to share with others photos of themselves (48%) and of people they know (40%) – compared to 43% and 33% of men respectively – one of their greatest security concerns, named by 29%, is the safety of their pictures and videos should a cyber-criminal gain access to their device.
Locally, one in four women worries that these images and other information could be shared inappropriately or without their consent, causing embarrassment and hurt if sent to the wrong person (45%) or even damage relationships (41%).
Despite this, many fail to appreciate how vulnerable they are to possible cyber-attacks – just 25% believe they could be a target, compared to 26% of men. As a result they don’t implement safety measures to safeguard their treasured photographs or other sensitive information stored on their device. Unlike men, up to 16% of women locally admit they don’t protect their device with a password and 15% of women do not use any form of security solution at all.
This lack of understanding about risk is confirmed by the fact that in a recent global security quiz, 27% of women admitted that they do not backup their devices, thereby risk losing all precious photos, videos and files if their device is stolen or damaged. Men are more prepared by comparison, with 80% of men agreeing that they backup their devices.
“It is not surprising that women use and value the information stored on connected devices differently from men. Devices play an important role in storing and sharing our happy memories and maintaining our relationships through email and text. Women worry more about the emotional impact on others should their devices be stolen or hacked. Celebrities aren’t the only ones to worry about what might happen if their private images were to be publically exposed. The only way to prevent this from happening is to take basic security precautions to keep what’s precious safe. We encourage women to start effectively protecting their devices to keep their precious information and photos safe,” says David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.
In order to prevent cybercriminals from accessing images, videos and other precious data, files stored on digital devices should be protected by passwords and encryption. Files should also be regularly backed up so that if the device is stolen or damaged, they are not lost forever. If this data is shared or copied, it should be encrypted, so that even if it falls into the wrong hands, it will remain protected. Kaspersky Total Security – multi-device protects data on multiple mobile devices, allowing women – and men – to enjoy their mobile devices whilst remaining secure against cyberthreats.
How well a company manages and protects its digital assets can go a long way towards determining its success or failure. According to SME Toolkit South Africa – a project of the SME Department of the World Bank Group – small and medium sized enterprises are breaking ground and getting noticed as evidenced by the influx of investments last year.
These days any time the discussion is around computers, documents or networks, it will not be long before you hear the word “cloud” surfacing in the conversation, Roberto Caprio, MD of Dial a Nerd.