Ports in the United Kingdom are experiencing congestion. Vessels were experiencing extreme wait times to berth and have now started to divert all UK-destined cargo to other European ports. We understand the situation is a culmination of a current container imbalance caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the surge in e-commerce and higher demand for stock ahead of the holidays, and the Brexit transition.
Prior to the volume surge in Q4, the terminals had slowed ship productivity, which caused vessels to leave before being completely unloaded and reloaded, which also fed the congestion. Today, the UK ports are full of empty containers waiting to be loaded onto ships that are no longer calling the terminals directly, and labor and equipment within the cargo infrastructure (ports, warehouse, trucking, and rail) continues to be stressed.
The Marine Traffic website shows many vessels at anchor outside the main ports. By deploying extra loaders into the continent and then deploying small feeders into the UK, the carriers are attempting to add needed capacity to alleviate the surge in demand at origin.
To view port and truck border wait times throughout Europe visit the Sixfold website for an up-to-date map.
Accurate forecasting is crucial at this time. We encourage bookings as far in advance as possible.
Please reach out to your local Expeditors representatives should you have any questions.