A Christmas caution was issued when a cargo containing “toys” was turned away from the UK’s busiest port.
Containers carrying toys and electrical items were redirected from Felixstowe port when it ran out of storage capacity, forcing them to be diverted abroad, according to shipping executives.
A “perfect storm” of a shortage of lorry drivers to move containers, port restrictions due to Covid, and an increase in imports means “there will be holes on shelves this Christmas,” according to industry experts.
Containers carrying toys and electrical products were redirected from Felixstowe port when it ran out of storage capacity, prompting the comments from shipping executives.
“I don’t want to sound like a Grinch, but there will be holes on shelves this Christmas,” one shipping executive warned.
Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping firm, announced that one of its “two pretty huge ships” that regularly call at Felixstowe every week has been rerouted.
Lars Mikael Jensen, Maersk’s head of east-west ocean network, said, “We had to cease operations on a ship because there was nowhere to discharge the containers.”
According to The Telegraph, the port is among the top three worst-affected facilities in the world.
At Felixtowe, each ship would normally discharge roughly 4000 containers, but there is just not enough room.
Jensen went on to say that the difficulty will most likely last until the new year, which means that Christmas gifts may be harder to come by.
As a workaround, the ships are being rerouted to other ports, such as Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Bremerhaven, to empty before being transported to the UK on smaller ships, however this is causing delays of up to a week.
“We have a perfect storm of problems,” Mike Bowden, procurement manager at global shipping business Cory Brothers, said. “The port is so full of containers that they can’t get them off [ships]and there’s no capacity for the empty containers to be returned.”
“We’re used to making things work as an industry, and we need the government to sit down and listen to what’s going on.” This is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that.” “We are witnessing huge delays on crates inbound into the UK,” Pete Wilson, group managing director at Cory Brothers, told Radio 4’s Today programme.
“It’s worth noting that this isn’t only a Felixstowe issue.” This is a problem that affects the entire United Kingdom. The same strain is being felt at all of the main sea ports, including Gateway and Southampton.” He went on to say that the supply chain in the UK would “not fail.” The news is summarized by Brinkwire.