Freight News, Sea

MPs join call for action over port chaos

[ December 18, 2020   //   ]

The Chairs of two Commons select committees, International Trade and Transport, have written to their Secretaries of State calling for government intervention to tackle substantial disruption at UK container ports.

Angus Brendan MacNeil MP and Huw Merriman MP called on the departments to examine the situation and intervene.

In the letter, they said: “We were concerned to hear that this disruption is causing delays to goods entering the UK, and major increases to the costs of shipping freight, with container prices trebling or quadrupling to up to £8,000 in some cases. … We were particularly surprised to hear that berthing is so rationed at Felixstowe that often not all UK containers can be unloaded during the berthing time and get taken to Zeebrugge. Perhaps somewhere there is capacity between Invergordon and Kent that could be used to alleviate Felixstowe congestion and easier onwards road transport than Zeebrugge.

“There may indeed be solutions but the problem is so big we both as Committee chairs feel it needs Government intervention.”

The MPs action followed a call by the British Retail Consortium and the Food and Drink Federation for an urgent parliamentary enquiry into the delays that have hit UK deepsea ports in the last few months.

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