The Port of Felixstowe has issued an apology to customers for poor service standards, with reduced productivity and congestion leading to several vessel diversions.
The port had to temporarily cease acceptance of empty containers following a sharp spike in import container volumes, along with a high proportion of late vessel arrivals, partly caused by typhoons in Asia.
In a statement the operator Hutchinson Ports noted: “The weekly import volume for the last two weeks has been over 30% higher than average levels.
“This is exacerbated by unusually high levels of empty containers at the port and the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis on resource availability. As a result, our service standards are not currently where we would like them to be and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
In order to bring performance levels back to that expected by its customers, the operator announced that it would be taking the following measures:
– Increasing VBS booking availability to over 4,300 vehicles per day.
– Opening on Sunday for haulage collection.
– Working with customers to temporarily slow down and reduce the number of empty containers being returned to the port by rail and road, to avoid a not run out of storage space.
– Recruiting and training over 100 additional front line equipment drivers which had not been possible during lockdown.
– Improving labour availability, and preparing for a possible second wave of Covid -19, by securing private testing for our employees to minimise the period people need to self-isolate if they, or a family member, display symptoms.