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Logistics Sector Responds to Shipping Delays

Ports across the world have seen a surge in container shipping activity, and trade organisations have pledged to continue working hard as UK ports face delays ahead of the festive season

Published on December 10, 2020

Felixstowe Port Full Berths at the UK’s Biggest Port, Felixstowe. Photo Dgeezer

Amid reports of extensive delays at UK ports in the run up to the holiday season, logistics organisations in the UK have written to the UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps to address the issues.

The letter was sent by groups including the UK Chamber of Shipping, UKMPG, the British Ports Association, BIFA, the Cold Chain Federation, the Road Haulage Association, Logistics UK, Rail Freight Group and UKWA.

In the letter, the associations explain that the sudden increase in shipping has been caused by several factors including:

• "Unprecedented volatility" in global supply chains caused by Covid-19;
• Local factors in the UK, such as the traditionally busy run up to Christmas;
• and stockpiling based on concerns over the end of the UK-EU transition period.

The associations say that they are "not complacent", and understand there will be challenges over the coming months. Although they say solutions will be industry led, they call on the government to also support industry efforts through "providing sensible flexibilities and easements that enable industry solutions, principally around the movement of containers on and off ports."

Summarising the letter, Zoe McLernon of Logistics UK describes the situation as "the three ‘C’s – COVID19, Christmas and Customs – impacting the industry at the same time." Emphasising the importance of government and industry working together, McLernon added that "The logistics sector has shown its agility and adaptability throughout the pandemic, and in dealing with the current situation to ensure that goods continue to reach their destination. However, we continue to need government to play its part by factoring elements such as the potential impact of disruption caused by the end of the transition period into its planning so that freight can continue to move freely, swiftly and safely with minimal delays."

To see the full letter to the Secretary of State, a copy has been uploaded to the Bifa Website - Click Here.

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