Congestion, empty equipment shortages, port omissions, lack of available haulage….What next for an industry battling to keep up with demand??

Congestion, empty equipment shortages, port omissions, lack of available haulage….What next for an industry battling to keep up with demand??


4 minute read | By Denholm Good Logistics

Last updated: January 16, 2024 | Published: September 23, 2020


Congestion, empty equipment shortages, Port Omissions, Lack of available haulage….

The logistics industry in the UK is facing on going challenges and is working hard to mitigate disruption and delays to customers shipments and find solutions where ever possible.

In the Far East there has been a huge spike in demand driven by the traditional peak season and boosted by additional demand from companies going through a period of COVID restocking and the run up to Golden week in China.

Space as such is at a premium and carriers are reporting very high utilisation rates but coupled with this there is now a serious lack of empty equipment in many main ports.

The issue of empty equipment is now spreading to India and announcements today from MSC around repositioning surcharges for Turkey.

In the UK, the situation at Felixstowe has been well documented in recent weeks but operations continue to worsen with reduced capacity. This largely due to COVID control measures being introduced,  coupled with a surge in demand.

There are also issues with the IT system introduced in 2018 and still not 100%, reports suggest, meaning VBS slots are not being released to hauliers which again is compounding the issues around congestion.

Due to the congestion carriers are now looking to cut and run and divert to the likes of London Gateway to avoid delays but this too creates issues of its own.

Back at the port of Felixstowe the return of empties has also been a challenge with many being diverted to inland depots which adds to the issues being faced by hauliers and additional costs for cargo owners.

On top of the issues at Felixstowe the UK generally is experiencing a shortage of haulage and available drivers. Many firms cut back on numbers when volume and demand dropped when COVID hit. Many drivers that were on furlough found work elsewhere, especially within the world of ecommerce which has remained buoyant throughout the pandemic.

This means now a serious lack of availability and as such some carriers now refusing to take any more bookings and others with no availability for 10-14 days or more leading to further delay and additional charges for customers either by way of quay rent of additional to find merchant haulage.

We continue to monitor the situation closely and our operations teams are working flat out to secure traction and minimise the disruption being felt but the situation does look set to get worse before it gets better.

If you need any further information please speak to your local John Good Logistics office, Account Manager or Sales.

Further updates to follow

  • Filter by category

  • Reset