The Port of Felixstowe has responded to growing criticism of its cargo operations and its vehicle booking system (VBS) in particular saying that it is taking measures to rectify the system.
The UK’s biggest container port, run by Hutchison Ports, has faced significant congestion after a spike in import container volumes coincided with a high proportion of late vessel arrivals.
Hauliers and their representatives had asked for government intervention into difficulties which have seen hauliers say that they cannot gain access to either deliver or pick up cargo at the port since the VBS was installed as part of the new terminal operating system at the port.
Robert Keen, director general, British International Freight Association (BIFA), commented: “There is a huge difference of opinion between the port’s users and its management, over the causes of the less than satisfactory operational performance that continues to be experienced at Felixstowe.
“Our members say that the port authority is merely paying lip service to any enquiries they make, which is unacceptable for a port authority, which owns the UK’s busiest container port, and has been happy to market it as the ‘Port of Britain’.”
Keen added: “The debacle in 2018, when the port undertook a disastrous migration to a new in-house TOS appears to be at the root of the current VBS problems, which is exacerbating the congestion problems caused by other issues; including a huge increase in container moves ahead of the Golden Week in China; reduced container moves per hour at the quayside and serious staffing issues.”