A number of major media outlets have reported warnings in recent days that the chaos at Felixstowe port is “getting worse” and may result in a “very difficult” festive season for retailers, shipping and haulage companies.
Pre-Brexit stockpiling, the impact of the pandemic and a backlog of around 11,000 containers of PPE at Felixstowe port have been blamed for creating lengthy delays and stopping retailers from receiving inventory within the run-up to Christmas. Consumers have been warned that pre-Brexit stockpiling and the coronavirus pandemic could cause shortages in festive stock in stores.
BBC News reports that “Felixstowe Port [is] in ‘chaos’ as Christmas and Brexit loom” and cites examples of ships not able to berth being redirected to Rotterdam due to unacceptable delays. BBC News states that “performance at the port remains under pressure due to the Covid pandemic, high levels of import traffic, the large number of empty containers and a large amount of unusually long-stay containers held at the port.” Read the full story here.
According to Sky News the PPE backlog, the impact of shops closing and increased demand for online orders, has upped pressure on what is already the busiest time of year for the shipping and haulage industries. Sky News has reported that “there are 11,000 containers of PPE shipped in from China just sitting up at the quayside. Lots of things are stuck on ships that can’t unload and lorries can’t pick up. The whole system has deteriorate[d].” Read the full story here.
We have recently informed customers of market challenges and the significant congestion occurring at Felixstowe port which has been struggling to manage the increase in import volumes resulting from the key Christmas trading period for many weeks. The volumes are greater than usual because stores are catching up as a result of the spring lockdown. The additional pressure of retailers also stockpiling ahead of the Brexit deadline is only exacerbating the situation. While Felixstowe is being reported as the main problem, as it handles 40% of all the shipping containers coming into and out of the UK, disruption is also being experienced across all UK’s main ports. There has also been a knock on effect at London Gateway and Southampton ports, which have been absorbing diversions from Felixstowe. All major UK ports are now overloaded and as a result are experiencing congestion at the terminal and container yard which has resulted in operational delays throughout the UK supply chain.
Regrettably these challenges to the UK’s ports are set to continue beyond Christmas with Felixstowe port stating that the situation is unlikely to improve until the New Year. We will keep you updated on any further developments and would like to thank all of our customers once again for their understanding during this challenging period.
Image accreditation. Container ship at the Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk.