‘Perfect storm’ creates ‘supply chain misery’ for unhappy port of Felixstowe

High winds over the weekend in the UK, added to slow-working at the port of Felixstowe and the cyber-attack on CMA CGM, will result in “supply chain misery for weeks”

The continuing problems with Felixstowe’s vehicle booking system had caused “chaos”, and it had led to carriers diverting ships at the last minute to London Gateway and Southampton.

CMA CGM’s UK office appears unable to even take bookings manually, while its latest haulage-availability spreadsheet, sent to customers yesterday and seen by The Loadstar, appeared to show it could not take bookings to and from any port in the UK to any inland destination until at least 19 October.

Meanwhile, Felixstowe said on Friday “measures to manage the flow of containers to and from the port are having a positive impact”.

It said it had released 1,600 additional VBS slots, as well as extending Sunday opening hours for road haulage, and was seeing the first intake of new operational staff as part of its recruitment of 100 more equipment drivers.

The port claimed that, “on average there were 749 VBS slots unused each day”, which has baffled hauliers, who remain adamant they cannot get bookings and have shown The Loadstar screenshots showing zero availability.

The port has again apologised to “any customers experiencing delays”, and said it was confident that the measures it had taken and the “close cooperation with our partners, will address these operational challenges”.

However, according to an internal staff memo, the port had so far received confirmation that seven main line vessels would “divert to competitor ports over the coming weeks”. And the port will also lose several feeder calls, following the diversion of mother vessels.

“At the moment these are just a series of one-off diversions, but we have to accept that there is now a real threat for these calls to be on a permanent basis,” said the memo.

It added: “We have a lot of unhappy customers,” and was requesting “a call to arms” from staff to reverse the decline in productivity at the port, which it said had resulted in a loss of market share, “as the competition has out-performed us”.

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