Firms suffer as Royal Mail fails to lift block on new post

royal mail 2Royal Mail is risking the wrath of its international business customer base – and a potential exodus – following a renewed call to firms not to post new items to overseas destinations, nearly two weeks after the postal giant was hit by a ransomware attack.

The attack – thought to be the work of Russian group Lockbit – disabled a system that creates the dockets required by international transport operators and postal services. The disabled system is in use at six sites, including the company’s Heathrow distribution centre in Slough.

Outbound post has been stuck in depots but inbound post has been largely unaffected; Royal Mail delivers about 200,000 items overseas every day.

The company insists that international deliveries of letters and parcels are now getting back on track and it is starting to clear the backlog after implementing a workaround, which has enabled the organisation to mitigate the impact of the ransomware attack.

In a statement released this morning, Royal Mail said: “We have now resumed international export despatches for all mail streams including parcels and letters across a growing number of international destinations.

“We are making good progress in despatching items that are already in our network across all of our services. Please note you may see less tracking information than usual as we continue to restore our services.

“At this time, we continue to ask customers not to submit new parcels for export, and we will update further on service resumption as soon as possible.

It added: “Royal Mail continues to work with external experts, the security authorities and regulators to mitigate the impact of this cyber incident, with a focus on restoring all services for export letters and parcels. Our import operations continue to perform a full service with some minor delays. Domestic services remain unaffected.

“We’re sorry for any disruption this incident may be causing. Our teams are continuing to work around the clock to resolve this situation. We will update customers as soon as we have more information.”

But Small Business Britain founder Michelle Ovens said the problem with Royal Mail’s international delivery system was “yet another headache” for firms.

She added: “Finding opportunities abroad, particularly through exporting, is a major way small firms can pursue growth when the UK economy is flat.

“Small businesses simply cannot afford to lose out on international opportunities, so everything must be done to resolve this as soon as possible.”

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