Felixstowe Port in general has experienced various challenges for some time with high volumes recently combined with port delays, vessels diverting, fewer rail services and shortage of haulage which has all contributed to delays.
Now Freight forwarders and Hauliers are being advised that they are now unable to return (restitute) empty containers to the port of Felixstowe until September 23rd 2020 which is a further and added complication.
Robert Keen, who is the Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) states: “The operational performance at Felixstowe has been very challenging for some time, but over the last 24 hours the issues have escalated to a level that could be disastrous for our members’ businesses, which have already been hard hit by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
He went on to say: “The latest ‘initiative’ would appear to be an attempt to overcome the huge congestion that has developed at the port, which has led to significant haulage problems for our members whereby many containers can neither be collected, nor returned. Empty containers will have to be restituted to inland container parks, which will lead to an escalation in haulage costs for members using merchant haulage; as well as quay rent and demurrage issues and expenses”.
The apparent lack of haulage capacity is probably one of the biggest problems as a lot of drivers are not working due to the pandemic, either because furlough, holiday or quarantine requirements. With the added complication of Covid secure working practices, this means something that would normally take two-hours to unload now takes almost double the time, causing further issues and delays on planned work loads.
We are working hard to minimize disruption to our clients and please be assured that XPand Logistics will do all we can to ensure our clients deliveries are made in a timely manner and request that in light of the situation you bear with us at this time as currently there are no clear signs of the situation easing.