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Service Interruption Alert – Port of Felixstowe, UK, has announced they will not accept the restitution of empty containers until further notice

September 21, 2020

The Port of Felixstowe has announced that they will not accept the restitution of empty containers until further notice. Felixstowe Port is currently experiencing a high demand in terms of a surge in import arrivals which coupled with several external issues as listed below, is causing disruption to normal service levels.

  • Lost working days at Felixstowe Port in Weeks 35 and 36 due to summer storms and bank holidays respectively
  • Delayed vessels from Asia not meeting their berthing slots (mostly caused by inclement weather)
  • Reduced productivity at ports and depots — especially at shift changes — due to necessary new hygiene regimes driven by COVID-19 
  • Reduced productivity at the Port of Felixstowe caused by staff shortages
  • Build-up of empty containers congesting the Port of Felixstowe reducing efficiencies further
  • Vessel diversions driven by all of the above 
  • Driver shortages in the market driven by lost labour post COVID-19 in the form of returning overseas nationals and furloughed staff

Due to the above factors we are experiencing the following issues:

  • Vessel schedule disruption with delays in the time taken to discharge containers from vessels
  • Prolonged turnaround times on the quay for trucks
  • Import containers missing planned connections to rail
  • Reduced haulage availability

Consequently, we must advise that it is unlikely neither the Port of Felixstowe or the carriers will waive or mitigate any detention or demurrage costs incurred. Other UK Ports are currently working well, though we anticipate a ripple effect from the problems at the Port of Felixstowe that may start to impact service levels at other UK container ports.

Your Arpin UK service team is aware of all shipments that may be impacted and will contact appropriate parties to discuss individual contingency plans. In the meantime, please do hesitate to contact the UK service team for advice and guidance on alternative ports to route into or with questions regarding additional charges that may be incurred due to the current situation.