How your goods are sitting at a port for TEN DAYS and not getting to shelves due to HGV driver shortage

THE port of Felixstowe is in meltdown with huge lines of containers backed up — leading to shortages on shop shelves.

There are not enough lorry drivers to pick up and deliver the loads and the key port has become so congested its dockside is full.

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The port of Felixstowe is filled with containers of undelivered goods due to the HGV driver shortage[/caption]

Containers are now sitting for almost ten days before being collected for onward transport — double the time it normally takes, according to the British International Freight Association.

It comes despite the port, which handles 40 per cent of Britain’s total container imports, dealing with the same volumes as in 2019.

Hauliers believe collections in September were down 15 to 20 per cent, leaving up to 7,500 containers stacked at the UK’s busiest port.

One shipping boss told The Times: “I don’t want to sound like a Grinch but there are going to be gaps on shelves this Christmas.”

Most imported toys come through Felixstowe because they are non-perishable and it’s cheaper to ship them than fly them on a plane.

Electronics, bikes and homeware goods are also reportedly affected, raising fears that Christmas presents will be in short supply.

And Lars Mikael Jensen, boss of shipping giant Maersk, warned retailers they may need to prioritise what they ship to Britain in coming months due to the delays.

He said: “Felixstowe is among the top two or three worst-hit terminals [globally].

“We are having to deviate some of the bigger ships away from Felixstowe and relay some of the smaller ships for the cargo.”

Retail leaders yesterday blamed the container backlog at the Suffolk port on the lorry driver shortfall which has also caused gaps on supermarket shelves as essential goods cannot be replenished fast enough.

The double whammy of Covid and Brexit has caused problems leading to the delay of goods such as Apple AirPods and Sony PS5s, as well as a plethora of items ordered from China by UK businesses.

It has left families worrying about the availability of foodstuffs, treats and other goods in the lead-up to Christmas.

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Containers are now sitting for almost ten days before being collected for onward transport — double the time it normally takes[/caption]
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Lars Mikael Jensen, boss of shipping giant Maersk, warned retailers they may need to prioritise what they ship to Britain in coming months[/caption]

Chocolate favourite Nestlé is among the brands that have suffered a hold up at Felixstowe. Some of its containers have been waiting for several weeks already.

The British Toy & Hobby Association advised parents to buy early to avoid disappointment, especially if they are after a particular item.

A spokesman said: “Toy manufacturers are working around the clock to face down this unwelcome vortex of logistical challenges to try to ensure their toys arrive and provide the range of choice consumers seek each autumn and winter.” Furniture giant Ikea yesterday admitted it had suffered some disruption.

The British Ports Association said: “UK ports have been working flat out to keep containers moving.”

Mike Bowden, procurement manager at the global shipping group Cory Brothers, said it had been warning about the issue since June last year.

He said: “We have a perfect storm of problems, which has meant the port is so full of containers they cannot get them off [ships] and there is no space for the empty containers to be returned.

“As an industry we are used to making things work and we need the government to sit down and listen to what is happening. I have never seen a situation like this.”

Meanwhile, firms that gave bosses or shareholders big bonuses were warned they will not get help with soaring gas bills.

Cabinet Office boss Steve Barclay said there must be a balance between support and “protecting the taxpayer”.

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The container backlog has been blamed for gaps on supermarket shelves[/caption]


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