In the incident, in which no-one was injured, a crane collapsed on to a container ship. Due to precautionary safety concerns other cranes were subsequently taken out of action by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The port has now worked its way up to around half its usual crane capacity, with more cranes due to return to action over the next seven days. In response to the situation, services have had to be diverted to continental ports and then feedered in on separate services to smaller UK ports.
According to the FTA, Southampton is one of the UK’s two most important container ports and the disruption there is creating huge difficulties for businesses across the country. Business requires that the HSE, SCT and all others involved to work towards an improvement in the service as quickly possible.
The FTA notes the progress Southampton has made to date, and it is hopeful the next seven days should see a further improvement. However, given that the after effects of this situation could last for months rather than weeks, it calls on SCT and the shipping lines to work with hauliers and rail freight companies as much as possible, in order to mitigate the problems this will continue to create for UK business.
Once again, the effects of this incident show the constrained nature of the UK’s current container port capacity.