Categories: Business, Felixstowe, Hutchison Ports, Liverpool, Peel PortsPublished On: 20.09.2022387 words2 min read

Overlapping strike action at Felixstowe and Liverpool ports makes disruption threat ‘very real’

Planned strike action at the ports of Felixstowe and Liverpool will overlap for seven days, making the potential for disruption “very real”.

An eight-day at Felixstowe, the UK’s busiest port, begins on 27 September, while a two-week strike at Liverpool port starts on 19 September.

A previous strike at Felixstowe in August saw delays rocket and resulted in an estimated $800m loss of trade.

Norman Global Logistics said in an update:

“The potential for further disruption is very real.” 

The company said the previous Felixstowe strike saw vessel calls drop from 29 to five,

“with many carriers calling at alternative ports or just delaying cargo for a week to avoid disruption”.

Chris Rogers, principal supply chain economist at digital freight forwarder Flexport, told Supply Management consumer goods and firms operating just-in-time supply chains were likely to have problems.

“Clearly having Liverpool and Felixstowe strikes overlap will compound the problem, if anybody had been hoping to use one port as an alternative. It will put more pressure on London and Southampton,”

he said.

“The first Felixstowe strike happened before peak shipping really got underway, but we’re now at the beginning of the season for arrivals, late September into early October. You’re much more coming into the thick of peak season so there’s the chance that that’s more disruptive.

“You’re just trying to bring more stuff into the country, but the other ports that you might choose to go to are also already busy. So you’re trying to squeeze an even bigger problem into an even smaller solution. Your options aren’t just London or Southampton, you can go to Rotterdam or Hamburg and onward ship from there – but that’s expensive, it takes time.

“Dealing with the strikes in the short term is very difficult, because generally speaking your products are already on the water, so you could divert to other ports. You could just accept that it’s going to take longer. The important thing to watch, though, is whether the disagreements that are driving the strikes get sorted out, because we’ve already had one Felixstowe strike, we’ve got another one. There’s no reason why you wouldn’t have a third. There are clearly labour relations challenges globally. “ . . . .

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Overlapping strike action at Felixstowe and Liverpool ports