The Hanjin Shipping collapse combined with the biggest import spike since the 2008 financial crisis has made space very tight, driven freight rates up and created a massive imbalance between inbound and outbound container flows at all UK ports.
Space is tight from all major Asia gateways, particularly China and is also affecting some Eastbound routes.
To protect your space we would recommend that you increase your lead times to three weeks and instruct your vendors to make early bookings too. They should confirm how many containers will be required and exactly when they will be ready for shipment.
Felixstowe has been especially busy and as a result its container storage yards have been filling up, leading to a dramatic drop in the service levels we receive.
The Port’s container yards support quayside, rail and road operations, so that on a normal day the Port can handle up to 20,000 container moves into, out of and within the yards.
The rate at which the Felixstowe can handle these moves is completely dependent on the density of containers in the yard and at the moment the unprecedented number of containers in the yards is severely impacting container flows.
To stop container volumes increasing and further impacting performance, the Port of Felixstowe is currently refusing to accept containers from those carriers who are above their agreed storage levels.
While this unprecedented situation is entirely beyond our control our operations teams are working hard to minimise impacts on our customers by leveraging our relationship with the Port of Felixstowe and favouring carriers that have not yet exceeded their storage levels.
The shipping lines have asked us to mitigate the impact of this disruption, by taking notice of the following:
1. Please do not request empty restitution at Felixstowe for any box that enters the UK through another Port
2. Please avoid requesting empty drop off at the Port of Felixstowe or in the immediate adjacent locations.
3. Empties will be accepted at the ports of Tilbury/Gateway as alternatives.
4. There is limited local restitution in the Midlands for certain size/types of container specifically 40HC.
NEWSFLASH – We have just learnt that COSCO are refusing to accept bookings for Southampton calling vessels.
We would like to thank you in advance for your understanding and apologise for the disruption at Felixstowe which is regrettably beyond our control.