A logjam at the Port of Felixstowe

The Port of Felixstowe, which handles 36% of the UK\’s freight container traffic, has been troubled by a logjam of shipping containers in recent months.

Some the largest 20,000-container ships were waiting outside Felixstowe for between four to seven days, and some have been rerouted to other European ports, where smaller vessels will be used for UK deliveries. There is a limit to how many berths the big ships can call in Felixstowe, and because it\’s slower, it takes longer to handle every ship.

The port has blamed several factors for the build-up of shipping containers, including the busy pre-Christmas peak, haulage shortages, poor vessel scheduling, and the impact of the pandemic.

On top of this, there are a high number of empty containers currently sitting at the port. Felixstowe said it is asking shipping lines to remove them as quickly as possible. \”The vast majority of import containers are cleared for collection within minutes of arriving and there are over 1,000 unused haulier bookings most days,\” the port stressed.

There is a shortage of about 100,000 drivers with several sectors from retailers to domestic refuse collection affected. The government recently drafted in military personnel to help deliver fuel and to issue emergency temporary visa to foreign drivers.

The shortage has been caused by several factors, including European drivers who went home during the pandemic, Brexit, tax changes and a backlog of HGV driver tests.

The problem is not just confined to the UK. Ports across the world have also suffered significant delays. Retailers have highlighted particular issues in China and east Asia, where pandemic restrictions and poor weather conditions have affected shipping. There are reports of dozens of ships forced to wait outside ports in America and Asia.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58888552

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