UK Port Congestion Will Continue to Require Patience After Peak Season
Since June, the congestion of UK ports has been impeding the smooth transport of sea cargo into the country. During this peak season, the problem has spread from Felixstowe to Southampton and is likely to continue beyond the Christmas rush. Kerry Logistics UK continues to work hard to best service its customers and minimise the crisis’ effect.
The UK port congestion has developed into a crisis for ports, carriers, logistics providers, and shippers in the second half of 2018. It all started in June, when the Port of Felixstowe launched a new terminal operating system (TOS), causing chaotic conditions. As a consequence, the UK’s largest container gateway slowed down to around 50 per cent of capacity and suffered chronic congestion. Several factors – such as the UK’s haulage driver shortage, bad weather delays, and operation of more ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs) – aggravate the problem further.
A normalisation of the situation is still not on the horizon and with Chinese New Year beginning on 5 February 2019, the situation may worsen, as volumes will increase prior to this date. Furthermore, the UK’s political uncertainties may lead to further delays in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
What we are doing to help you
At Kerry Logistics UK, we have been working hard to alleviate some of the consequences of the port congestion. “We are in close contact with our carriers, trucking companies, and rail operators to minimise the impact on our customers’ supply chains as effectively as possible,” explains Dave Gaughan, Managing Director of Kerry Logistics (UK). “We can provide our customers with different service options – transhipment to feeder ports like Liverpool or Teesport, using rail freight services, or our own dedicated fleet for pre- and/or on-carriage. At Kerry Logistics UK, we continue to invest heavily in our own fleet of Kerry vehicles to minimise our exposure to the carriers’ own haulage provision that is often very expensive and unreliable. In addition, we are increasing our rail space allocations to improve our landside delivery performance and minimise any disruption. However, in the current climate, delays cannot always be avoided.”
What our customers can do
Unfortunately, options for customers to avoid the delays of UK import and export cargo are limited. “Against this background, we encourage our customers to continue to book their shipments as early as possible,” notes Dave Gaughan. “Our account managers will do their best to find an adequate service solution – always striving to find the optimal balance between time and costs.”
Please do not hesitate to contact your account manager if you have questions or require further information.