You may already be aware that the UK is currently suffering from a lack of truck drivers, which is causing several challenges, including terminal congestion in key ports with limited inland haulage options. We want to inform you about the situation and how it is impacting our ability to support your business to our normal standards.
We are seeing increased consumer demand due to retailers stocking up for Christmas. Last week, the port of Felixstowe was forced to suspend the return of empty containers due to a very high yard density and increasing dwell times in the container yard. To ease the supply chain bottlenecks, we have asked you to divert the return of empty Maersk containers to alternative locations around the country. With limited options to discharge containers oceanside, we have also made the decision to temporarily divert certain vessels to alternative ports. Our plan is then to move the containers via smaller vessels to their intended destinations, which we expect can minimise the current delays.
Our top priority is to avoid further port congestion and disruptions for our customers and we do our best to normalise operations. Whilst the port of Felixstowe has reopened its gates, it is imperative that we continue to reduce the empty flows at the port, and we will continue to accept merchant haulage returns to other locations.
Starting tomorrow we will be making a number of short-term structural changes to our network to further mitigate the impact on supply chains and ultimately help our customers getting their cargo moving. We will continue to rely on rail as the backbone of our inland UK operations, and we remain committed to limiting the impact on our customers’ businesses. Having the ability to move a high number of containers “in one go” from port to a proximity of final customer destinations will support our efforts in ensuring a robust and reliable pipeline of inland capacity for our customers.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to our teams to discuss alternative solutions for your cargo. Getting early advice on priority shipments will assist us in providing you with the best possible service and outcome. As our teams are here to serve you, please dial: +44 (0) 330 912 0429 or email us at GB.Export@sealandmaersk.com or GB.Import@sealandmaersk.com.
We continue to keeping you updated as the situation develops.