Brexit: boats full of Christmas gifts diverted from overcrowded UK port


Suffering from the effects of the pandemic and Brexit, the United Kingdom is facing traffic jams in its terminals.

Several giant container ships, full of goods for Christmas, had to be redirected from Felixstowe (east of England) to European ports because of traffic jams in its terminals, caused by the pandemic and Brexit.

“In order to ensure that goods will be widely available in the UK for Black Friday and Christmas we have started to reroute one of our three large ships calling at Felixstowe on a weekly basis.”a spokesperson for Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, told AFP on Tuesday. These large cargo ships then dock in other ports on the continent, such as Rotterdam or Antwerp, then the goods are transferred to “Smaller ships that bring them back to Felixstowe”, where there is room for smaller boats.

“We had to stop operations on a ship because there was nowhere to unload the containers”, said the head of the east-west maritime network of Maersk, Lars Mikael Jensen. Redirect it to a European port, “It’s better than having a ship waiting outside Felixstowe for four, five or six days to get a berth”, he added.

Shortage of truck drivers

According to the group’s spokesperson, the “Port congestion has become widespread throughout the world since the disruptions created by the pandemic on global supply chains”, corn “Felixstowe is one of the 3-4 most affected ports in the world”, while the port handles 36% of UK sea freight volume per container. In question ? The ‘Empty containers which are not picked up at normal speed, due to the shortage of truck drivers’, driven by Brexit and the pandemic. For weeks, the shortage of around 100,000 lorry drivers in the UK has resulted in serious delivery problems to UK supermarkets and service stations running out of gas.

Faced with the threat of empty shelves at Christmas, the government amended its immigration policy to grant up to 10,500 provisional work visas, including 300 for tanker drivers, but less than 10% of them had found takers in early October. “Like other major ports in the UK and elsewhere, Felixstowe is feeling the effects of the global supply chain crisis”, recognized a spokesperson for the port. Yes “The level of empty containers remains high”, “The vast majority of incoming containers are processed a few minutes after their arrival”, he said, however, indicating that “The situation is improving”.

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