Cargo shipped to UK hit by logistics problems

Danish shipping company Maersk says it diverts 1 ship per week away from Felixstowe port due to lack of empty space.

Cargo shipped to UK hit by logistics problems

The recent crisis of heavy good vehicle (HGV) drivers has been causing a backlog of containers at UK ports and a major shipping company started diverting vessels from those ports.

Maersk, a global Danish shipping and logistics company, said it is now re-routing at least one container ship to other ports in Europe because of the backlog.

A company spokesperson said high demand for shipping space and the HGV driver shortage caused a space problem for containers at the largest berths at Felixstowe port, which handles more than one third of UK shipping cargo, adding that other countries are experiencing the same problem.

Speaking to Financial Times, Maersk's global ocean network chief Lars Mikael Jensen said they had to stop operations on a ship “because there was nowhere to discharge the containers.”

"Felixstowe is among the top two or three worst-hit terminals,” he was quoted by the British daily.

He said: "We are having to deviate some of the bigger ships away from Felixstowe and relay some of the smaller ships for the cargo.

"We did it for a little while over the summer and now we're starting to do it again."

“In order to make sure that goods would be widely available in the UK for Black Friday and Christmas, we have started to re-route one of out two (to) three big vessels calling at Felixstowe weekly,” a Maersk spokesperson was quoted to have said by inews.

“The main factors behind this situation are high demand and lack of land distribution capacity as empty containers are not being removed at normal or average speed due to truck driver shortages.”

The British International Freight Association told Sky News that dwell times had almost "doubled to just shy of 10 days over the past fortnight.”

The problem is partly caused by the pre-Christmas shipping peak.

The UK is short of around 100,000 HGV drivers according to local reports and the problem has caused a fuel delivery crisis across the country, prompting motorists to queue up and panic buy, then actually causing a fuel shortage at petrol stations.

The government brought in a few hundreds of military personnel, of which 100 are drivers, and invited foreign drivers on a special work visa to solve the problem.

The fuel shortage has been mitigated with a series of other precautions after around two weeks of crisis.