Continuing delays at the UK’s busiest container port cause line to switch the UK call of its North Europe-Turkey service to Southampton.
Continuing delays and disruptions at the UK’s busiest container port, Felixstowe, has led container line OOCL to switch the UK call on its North Europe-Turkey (NET) service from Felixstowe to Southampton.
The loss of OOCL is the latest in a series of blows for Felixstowe, which, along with its customers, has faced significant problems since introducing anew terminal operating system (TOS) in June.
In an announcement to customers this week, OOCL said: “Felixstowe Terminal continues to suffer with severe operational delays, both shipside and landside, following the introduction of their new terminal IT system nGen. Updates and improvements subsequently made by the port have so far not yielded the desired results and our North Europe-Turkey (NET) service continues to endure vessel delays.
“We now reach a point where we can no longer tolerate these delays, which are not only impacting the supply chain of our UK customer base but also those connecting at other ports in the service rotation. The UK port of call for the NET service will therefore be moved to Southampton from week 34 of 2018.
“The first vessel to call Southampton will be the NORDAUTUMN 005N/006S, which has an ETA into Southampton of 25 August. Recovery options for current bookings have been put in place and we will be in contact with those affected.
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OOCL’s weekly NET service will have the following rotation:
Southampton – Hamburg – Antwerp – Cagliari – Piraeus – Istanbul (Kumport) – Gebze (Yilport) – Izmir (Alsancak) – Salerno – Southampton
In a customer update on 24 August, the Port of Felixstowe said: “There has been some positive progress in a number of areas in the last few weeks.
“Quayside productivity continues to recover with corresponding improvement in container throughput, although the pace of progress is slower than we would have liked. The first of the services that diverted temporarily to other ports, the jointly-operated Seago, Hamburg Sud and CMA CGM Levant service, returned to Felixstowe on 23August, and we are discussing with our shipping line customers welcoming back more services in the coming weeks.
“Rail and road haulier performance are more stable. However, we are still working hard to minimise the number of rail misses.
“The recent upgrades to the operating system have enhanced stacking logic, rail shuffles, the handling of vehicles through the Temporary Holding Area, and the flexible loading of empty containers to vessels. They also increase the efficiency of the container yard, which delivers wider benefits. There will be further upgrades in the coming weeks.
“The first block of the Berth 9 Yard development was delivered on 20 August providing an additional 1,800 TEU of storage space which will help improve yard performance. A further 16,200 TEU of storage capacity will be introduced between now and early 2019.”
As a result of the backlog of cargo built up in the last few weeks, the port said its Trinity quay was still congested, whereas Landguard was “gradually returning to normal”. In order to assist customers with any urgent containers, the port said it had opened the container yard for road haulage operations during the UK national holiday on Monday 27 August.
The port apologised to any port users continuing to experience delays or disruption, assuring them “that we are maintaining our focus on productivity improvements. These improvements will ensure that all customers receive the level of service they deserve.”