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Home | Internacional | UK ports suffering post-Brexit box logjams
Postado em 9 de março de 2021 | 21:02

UK ports suffering post-Brexit box logjams

UK terminals still struggling to clear an excess of containers, according Container xChange figures, with availability ex-Europe rising. Despite a shortage of empty containers in international export markets, empties are continuing to pile up in the UK, with the excess of containers at UK ports even higher now than last year, according to the latest data from Container xChange.

The UK’s leading container terminals struggled to cope with the pandemic-driven surge of imports last year resulting in lengthy delays for hauliers and vessels and an excess of containers building up in ports, Container xChange highlighted, with forwarders reporting that concerns about post-Brexit supply issues had added to the import demand and hence congestion late last year.

Container xChange said that the situation had worsened since the UK departed the European Union’s customs union and single market on 1 January and started trading under a post-Brexit customs and regulatory regime, according to the latest data from the international online platform for buying, selling and leasing shipping containers.

Under Container xChange’s Container Availability Index (CAx), an index reading of 0.5 describes a balanced market. Below 0.5 means there is a shortage of containers. Above 0.5 means there is an excess of containers.

At the port of Felixstowe the average reading of the CAx so far in 2021 for a 40 ft container is 0.95, up from 0.79 in 2020. The CAx for a 20 ft box has increased from an average of 0.78 in 2020 to 0.90 this year.

A similar picture is apparent at the port of Southampton where the CAx reading for a 40 ft container is 0.86 in 2021, up from an average of 0.71 last year. For a 20 ft container the CAx reading is 0.85, up from an average of 0.72 in 2020.

“The UK’s leading gateway terminals for container traffic suffered congestion for much of 2020 prompting carriers to cut some calls and ship cargo in from European hubs via the Channel Tunnel, ferry services and feeder services instead,” said Johannes Schlingmeier, CEO of Container xChange.

“Based on the build-up of containers at ports in 2021, it seems the situation has further deteriorated. We are now seeing critical levels of boxes building up at Southampton and Felixstowe.”

Container xChange said noted that post-Brexit cross-Channel shipments “are more complicated under dual-Customs regimes and this could be a factor in logistics bottlenecks”, although the company told Lloyd’s Loading List it had no evidence linking the two factors or demonstrating a direct causal relationship.

One consequence of the UK container port congestion since late last year is that many carriers have eliminated or reduced their calls to UK ports, with the UK market increasingly now served via feeder vessels from mainland European ports.

Container xChange noted that efforts by container lines to avoid Brexit disruption and delays at southern terminals by launching new services into the port of Liverpool “are also now coming unstuck, with the port struggling to handle increased volumes. This is reflected in an accelerating excess of containers at the port.”

In 2020 the average CAx reading at the port of Liverpool for a 40 ft container was 0.59. In 2021 this has climbed t0 0.75. For a 20 ft container the CAx reading in 2021 is 0.82, up from an average of 0.68 last year.

European gateway ports have also suffered disruptions and delays due to pandemic driven container traffic surges. However, container availability at leading hubs is currently better balanced than in the UK.

At the port of Rotterdam, the CAx average reading for a 40 ft container this year is 0.51, compared to an average of 0.40 in 2020. At Antwerp, shortages have been a problem, with an average reading for a 40 ft container of 0.21 in 2020 improving to a more balanced 0.41 this year.

Similarly, at Hamburg, the average CAx reading for a 40 ft container in 2020 was 0.27 suggesting critical shortages. This year the average reading has improved to 0.49.

Port of Felixstowe’s latest operational update yesterday noted the port, “like other major container ports worldwide, is still experiencing high container volumes and dealing with the consequences of the ongoing Covid pandemic. We are working closely with partners to support vital supply chains.”

 

 

 

Source: Lloyd’s


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