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Importers in UK Demand Inquiry Into Port Disruption

17th December 2020
UK retailers and food manufacturers call for an investigation into why the freight system is failing to deliver goods on time this winter while shipping costs are rising at a rate of 25% per week. Above AFLOAT's photo of Felixstowe in England is self-styled the 'Port of Britain' and is the UK's biggest container port, and one of the largest in Europe, handling over 4m TEU containers and around 3,000 ships annually, incl. the largest  'box-boats' among them the Europe-Asia serving OOCL Hong Kong (21,413TEU) above. Around 17 lines operate from the south-east port, offering 33 services to & from 700 ports around the world. UK retailers and food manufacturers call for an investigation into why the freight system is failing to deliver goods on time this winter while shipping costs are rising at a rate of 25% per week. Above AFLOAT's photo of Felixstowe in England is self-styled the 'Port of Britain' and is the UK's biggest container port, and one of the largest in Europe, handling over 4m TEU containers and around 3,000 ships annually, incl. the largest 'box-boats' among them the Europe-Asia serving OOCL Hong Kong (21,413TEU) above. Around 17 lines operate from the south-east port, offering 33 services to & from 700 ports around the world. Credit: Jehan Ashmore

UK representatives of food and retail importers have called for an urgent inquiry into the ongoing disruption at British ports, which has led to long delays to goods arriving and escalating freight prices.

Following several months of disruption at the UK’s largest container port Felixstowe (as pictured above) that has spread to other box import gateways, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) have written to the chairs of key UK parliamentary committees asking them to investigate the causes and potential remedies for the current problems.

Their letter to Lilian Greenwood MP, Chair of the Commons Transport Select Committee, and Angus Brendan MacNeil MP, Chair of the Commons International Trade Committee requesting “an urgent inquiry into the ongoing disruption at UK ports and across the shipping market”, noted that the impact of Covid-19 on global shipping schedules and the shipping workforce, along with a shortage of empty containers “has created significant disruption at many of the UK’s key ports in the crucial run up to Christmas”. This has meant retailers face “major challenges in building up stock for the Christmas period and for the end of the transition period at the end of December”.

For further reading LloydLoadingList reports.

Yesterday, Afloat reported of an Irish Oicheatas Committee on Transport and Communications Network and where the Irish Road Hauliers Association were to call for a single entity to take charge of the free movement of traffic from ports ahead of Brexit.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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