Livestock Haulers Warn of ‘Major Supply Chain Disruption’ in Wake of JBS Cyberattack
Washington D.C. – The U.S. Cattleman’s Association (USCA) is warning of a “major supply chain disruption” in the wake of the cyberattack on the world’s largest meat producer and is imploring the United States Department of Transportation to take mitigating action.
JBS USA, parent company to JBS Carriers, was hit with a cyberattack over the weekend forcing it to shutter numerous plants in the U.S., including all of its beef processing facilities which account for nearly 25% of America’s beef supply.
The impact is already being felt in the trucking community especially among livestock haulers.
In a letter sent to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday, USCA President Dr. Brooke Miller urged the USDOT to issue emergency regulatory relief specifically for livestock haulers and motor carriers which haul meat products.
“After reviewing reports from our members regarding the impact of the JBS outage, USCA strongly believes this event warrants immediate regulatory action to ensure grocery store shelves stay stocked of fresh meat products,” Miller wrote. “On behalf of the USCA, a nationwide organization of cow-calf producers, backgrounders, feedlot operators, livestock haulers, and independent processors, we respectfully request the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provide emergency regulatory flexibility for motor carriers and drivers hauling both live animals and meat products.”
Transportation Nation Network previously reported that JBS USA indicated a resolution to the matter will “take time” and notified customers and suppliers to expect delays of certain transactions.
“This ‘delay’ will create a major supply chain disruption, impacting both producers of livestock and consumers of meat at a time when the market is still recovering from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Miller warned.
Further, Miller cited regulatory relief granted by the USDOT to fuel haulers in the wake of the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline last month as “precedent for the issuance of such an emergency declaration to ensure supply chain continuity of essential consumer goods.”
JBS Expects to be Back at Full Capacity on Thursday
However, in a promising development, JBS announced on Wednesday it expects to be operating at full capacity on Thursday.
“JBS USA and Pilgrim’s continue to make significant progress in restoring our IT systems and returning to business as usual,” said Andre Nogueira, JBS USA CEO. “Today, the vast majority of our facilities resumed operations as we forecast yesterday, including all of our pork, poultry and prepared foods facilities around the world and the majority of our beef facilities in the U.S. and Australia.”
White House and FBI Blame Cyber Gang
Meanwhile, the official explanation from the White House and the FBI is that Russian hackers which are part of a cyber gang are responsible for the attack.
“We have attributed the JBS attack to REvil and Sodinokibi and are working diligently to bring the threat actors to justice,” the FBI said late Wednesday. “We continue to focus our efforts on imposing risk and consequences and holding the responsible cyber actors accountable.”
REvil is a prolific ransomware group, which is best known for attacking an Apple Inc. supplier named Quanta Computer earlier this year.
In that case, the hackers allegedly sent extortion threats and demanded a payment of $50 million for the company to regain access to its systems.
JBS has not revealed if it paid a ransom.
TransportationNation.com will continue to closely follow new developments.