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Port Strategy | Trouble at Felixstowe continues

Port of Felixstowe
The Port of Felixstowe is still battling high container volumes. Photo: Hutchison Ports

The Port of Felixstowe has said it is still experiencing a spike in container volumes and dealing with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hutchison Ports-owned Port of Felixstowe has faced criticism over congestion and delays recently, with the British International Freight Association (BIFA) calling for government intervention last month.

The port said it is fully operational but has “had a high number of slow moving containers of PPE occupying storage space. The current high volumes will last at least into December and possibly through into the New Year but we are working hard to minimise the impact on daily operations and to maintain vital supply chains”.

In the week to 29.11.2020, the port said it handled 81,104 TEU across the quay, 19,996 TEU to/from rail, and 32,313 containers to/from road vehicles. 95% of import containers are available for collection within 10 minutes of discharge from the vessel.

“We have been working with the Government’s principle forwarder to remove PPE containers as quickly as possible. Volumes have reduced significantly since the peak and should all be cleared within 3 weeks,” said the port.

Last month, Hutchison said hauliers had been overbooking vehicle slots on its Vehicle Booking System (VBS). In this most recent website update, the port said in the week to 29.11.2020, there were 4,563 VBS slots available every weekday, and in the week to 29.11.2020 a total of 28,356 VBS bookings were available of which 9,042 went unused.

Both container terminals are now open on Sundays for road collections/deliveries. Shipside operations remain 24/7

Each shipping line has an agreed empty storage capacity. The receipt of empty containers is managed on a line-by-line basis. If a line exceeds its empty storage capacity receipt of empty containers for that line are temporarily suspended until sufficient empties are removed. Empty containers are currently being received for 90% of customers.

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