The shipping giant Maersk has announced that it will divert ships from British ports due to an accumulation of cargo.
It has started diverting its container ships from Felixstowe, the UK’s largest trading port, to offload elsewhere in Europe before using smaller ships to finally get supplies to the UK, the Financial Times reported.
Lars Mikael Jensen, head of the global ocean network at Maersk, said the shortage of truck drivers has slowed the time it takes to empty and collect containers.
“We had to stop operations on a ship because there was nowhere to unload the containers,” he said.
“Felixstowe is one of the two or three worst hit terminals.
“We need to remove some of the larger ships from Felixstowe and relocate some of the smaller ships for cargo.
“We did it for a while over the summer and now we’re starting again.”
The backlog at Felixstowe, which handles 36% of the UK’s freight container volume, will add to concerns about how UK industry will tackle the crucial Christmas season.
Mr Jensen also warned that this could mean retailers are being forced to prioritize what they ship in order to deal with the congestion.
The shortage of truck drivers has contributed to disruption in UK ports.
And during a visit to a truck training center near Oldham in the Greater Manchester area, Labor chief Sir Keir Starmer said the shortage was “absolutely foreseeable”.
Speaking to broadcasters, he said: “We have to get the drivers back on the road as soon as possible, as we have already seen the effects on fuel consumption over the past few weeks.
“Now we’re seeing the effects on deliveries and that will last weeks and months until Christmas.
“And I think everyone will say we have to do something about it, we have to set up this training.
“But for God’s sake that was predicted, it was totally predictable, and the government didn’t respond.
“We knew when we left the EU that we were going to need a Plan B regarding drivers, we knew the pandemic would have an impact and here we are in the middle of a crisis and have: what? A prime minister who is missing in action. “
Other locations around the world have also suffered significant delays.
Retailers have highlighted particular issues in China and East Asia, where pandemic restrictions and bad weather conditions have impacted shipping.
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