October 9, 2018 - Chronic congestion at the UK's two largest container ports is forcing ocean carrier planners to make further last-minute ship diversions, causing chaos to the country's supply chain.
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Landside congestion at Felixstowe and Southampton has added to the woes of the UK haulage industry, which is already suffering from an acute shortage of HGV drivers.
More ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs) are likely to be diverted from UK ports as Felixstowe and Southampton struggle to cope with the annual peak season surge, impacting the working programmes at other North European container hubs.
An eleventh-hour diversion of a ship that results in thousands of boxes being landed at another port can cause weeks of delays to the arrival of goods, due to the fact that deliveries were programmed from the intended hub.
Due to the worsening congestion at Southampton, the Ocean Network Express (ONE) advised its customers late last week that the 20,180 TEU MOL Truth would no longer be making an import call at the south coast port on 4 October, but would instead discharge its cargo at London Gateway.
Even before the botched implementation of a new terminal operating system at Felixstowe in June, which was the catalyst for the current congestion, the UK haulage industry was running on empty and reckoned to be short of more than 75,000 drivers.
Indeed, one haulier told The Loadstar, before the Felixstowe IT meltdown, that he was "very worried" about his firm's ability to cover all of the contracted work during the busy peak season this year.
Source: The Loadstar
Our team in the UK is aware of the ongoing challenges due to congestion and haulage issues. We are working closely with customers to mitigate possible disruptions. We will continue to monitor and provide updates as the situation develops. Sign up for our newsletter to receive alerts in your inbox.