Container Port Crisis Impacting Retail Peak Season
UK container transport and container ports are in crisis right now following the coronavirus outbreak and a high demand retail peak season from Asia.
International shipments moving through the UK’s main three container ports – Felixstowe, Southampton & London Gateway – are likely to be significantly delayed due to major port congestion, operational procedures impacted by covid19 measures and container transport that just cannot cope with the volume.
The delays at ports has been so severe that vessels have cut and run before discharging and some lines are even considering dropping the UK from some of their schedules.
The now extended peak season from Asia is believed to be central to the issues we are witnessing. Despite global lockdowns earlier in the year, demand for products from China has remained high. This has effectively led to 6 months worth of trade being squeezed into the last four months, which has heaped extreme pressure on the UK’s container shipping infrastructure.
While most high-street retailers have seen a significant downturn in business, online sales have been driving the high demand peak season in the build up to Black Friday and Christmas sales.
Container transport operators are also struggling to provide enough transport for the volume of containers that have been entering the UK. Trying to book collection slots from ports, especially Felixstowe, has been extremely challenging and the industry is suffering from a shortage in drivers. The latter being impacted by many foreign nationals returning home in the build up to Brexit.
Right now, importers can expect delays of up to two weeks in the delivery of containers after vessels dock at any of the three main ports. If you are concerned this may affect any shipments en-route then please contact an Evolution team member for more information.
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