Congestion hits UK container port

Congestion hits UK container port

Container shipments from Asia to the United Kingdom continue to be subject to unprecedented delays and significant additional costs.

“It’s as bad as you hear, possibly worse,” Director and co-owner of UK-based Westbound Logistics, Ryan Clark, has been quoted by local media as saying.

“Space is still an issue, as are ever-increasing rates. We are constantly finding ourselves apologizing to customers. If it’s not rollings, space problems or rate increases, it’s a berthing delay or haulage issue,” Clark said.

Ocean carriers are already increasing container rates to UK ports from China as well as adding port congestion surcharges.

A source in once of the carriers said, “That’s why you are seeing higher rates to the UK – we are queuing for berths and when we do get alongside working is very slow and we end up having to ‘cut and run’, which costs us money.

“We don’t have the same problems at Antwerp or Rotterdam – there is congestion but they seem to be able to manage ship-working better and the land side is much smoother.”

MSC on Tuesday advised its customers that from November 16, all containers from Asia to the UK would be subject to a congestion surcharge of $175 per TEU.

Most other Asia-North Europe carriers to the UK are already levying a port congestion surcharge, although some are restricting this to Felixstowe.

In its latest operational update, Port of Felixstowe warned that the high import volumes “will last at least into December and possibly through into the new year”.

The port said that it was in the process of recruiting and training an additional 104 equipment drivers to enhance service delivery.

On the subject of empty container restitution, which last week saw Evergreen forced to “temporarily stop” the return of empty containers to Felixstowe, the port said that if a line exceeded its agreed capacity for empty storage, “receipt would be temporarily suspended”.

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