Information about Felixstowe problems for BIFA Members to use with their customers
On June 11th, 2018, with no prior warning, the Port of Felixstowe introduced the Next Generation Terminal Management System (nGen), a new terminal operating system (TOS). The system was already in use at twenty-five ports worldwide owned by Hutchinson Ports, however the introduction at Felixstowe went badly wrong and over three months later the position has not been fully resolved.
The Port state publicly that the new TOS is now “stable” however BIFA Members still face significant problems at the port with shipping lines cancelling calls; or operating a cut-and-run policy, where the ship leaves before all containers that are booked are loaded or discharged.
Those members are also experiencing knock-on effects at other UK ports where vessels are being diverted, causing additional cost and disruption. Key issues are that the Port is “playing catch up”, there are literally thousands of empty containers in the container yards which is compounding the problem because they are in the wrong place and need double handling, vessels are out of schedule which makes the situation worse, and the overarching issue for Import & Exports is a shortage of HGV drivers.
The BIFA Secretariat is receiving regular enquiries and updates from Members regarding the delays and cancellations. BIFA Members report booking transport with shipping lines up to currently fourteen days in advance but often find the delivery is cancelled on the day preceding collection or delivery. Thereby causing further problems for their customers.
This situation has been widely reported in the trade press and there are many online articles.