Importers angry as UK box ports buckle under ‘abnormal demand’

DP World’s London Gateway and Southampton container hubs are experiencing terminal congestion that threatens to further stymie the supply of holiday season products to the market.

Vessel-working and landside delays at the UK’s second and third-biggest container ports will add to the misery for importers hit by severe delays in recent months at the largest box port, Felixstowe.

Last week, CMA CGM announced it would levy a port congestion surcharge of $150 per teu on all imports via Southampton from 1 November, claiming its operational costs at the UK south coast port had increased “significantly over the past weeks”.

Today, Hapag-Lloyd advised its customers it was “experiencing congestion in the berthing plan and container yard” at London Gateway

“In recent weeks, this has resulted in several port omissions, cut-and-runs and move-count restrictions,” it said, adding that bad weather, Covid-secure measures, transport shortages and “abnormal increases in volume” at London Gateway were contributing factors.

The carrier warned that, although it expected some improvements at the facility, it expected the congestion to continue until mid-November.

Meanwhile, haulier and forwarding sources The Loadstar spoke to today claimed that the congestion at London Gateway and Southampton was a knock-on result of the well-documented VBS delays at Felixstowe.

And David Perfect, MD of a Thurrock-based haulier, did not mince his words: “Due to the ineptness of Felixstowe, shippers are using lines that run into Southampton and Gateway, which are now absorbing the extra work, which is causing delays in terminals.

“We have completely avoided Felixstowe during the day and now only move out of there during the night,” he added.. . . .

. . . . continue reading the article on the LoadStar website here