One month later, the terminal still had only five out of 11 cranes operating. Near normal working conditions were not expected to resume until the middle of March or possibly even later – at least two months after the original incident.
Christopher Snelling, head of global supply chain policy at the Freight Transport Association, said, “This is a serious and ongoing problem. Southampton and Felixstowe are the key links to the Far East for the UK. Companies around the country are still having to reroute deliveries through continental ports, adding delay and cost into supply chains. Hauliers are losing out massively as goods are not getting through to be delivered. Forward planning to deal with the ongoing problems has been impossible, as it has not been clear until now how long the problems will last. Now companies will need to be making alternative plans for another month at least.”
He continued: “Accidents happen, and safety should always be paramount, but two months to recover from such a serious problem is far too long. This once again shows how overextended is the UK’s current container port capability. We need to see massive expansion of our ports, and significant investment in improving the facilities available.”