Shippers are facing an anxious wait as the crisis in the UK haulage sector tightens its grip.
CMA CGM subsidiary ANL has announced a six-day delay on export collections due to a reduction in haulage availability, and HMM revising its policy.
ANL told customers the next available collection at major ports, including Felixstowe, London Gateway and Southampton, would be 17 September.
It said the reduction in haulage availability was linked to “continued issues” at Felixstowe, and rail engineering.
The delay also affects the UK ports of Immingham, Liverpool, Teesport and Tilbury, with one source noting that it was not only exports being affected.
“Clearly delays are being suffered on import collections, which apart from giving problems to the supply chain, will also increase costs linked to rent and demurrage,”
HMM has issued new rules on UK haulage, telling customers that, from 1 October, shippers must undertake all export collections and import deliveries at “their own risk”.
It blames UK haulage for the policy change.
The carrier said: “The UK road haulage market continues to face ongoing challenges as a result of road congestion, a general shortage of vehicle, driver and rail availability, plus increased cargo volumes.
“The problem is exacerbated by other external factors impacting haulage productivity such as port congestion and vessel diversions.
“Reliability and punctuality of all export collections and import deliveries has been impacted and these issues are likely to continue as many are ongoing or long-term rather than seasonal.”
Furthermore, the carrier said, it had reserved the right to be up to 90 minutes late, while still expecting any containers arriving within that period to be loaded or unloaded.
“We will give no consideration of extended free time or additional costs,” said the carrier. “Wasted journey costs will apply for any container arriving within this 90-minute period which is rejected for loading or unloading.”
To facilitate improved service and free up resource availability, HMM said it welcomed “any opportunities” to unload or deliver at night.
The issues surrounding haulage were leading to shippers being dealt a “double-whammy”.
“They are being hit twice, as not only are they not getting shipment, but they are also being charged for their goods being left quayside,” said the forwarder.
“And anyone who doubts there is an issue need only look at the number of new enquiries we have had, and how, predominantly, they have all been linked to haulage – this is a major issue.”
The forwarder said the problems, which started with Felixstowe’s failure to successfully migrate to its new IT system, were spreading. Many shipments destined for the UK’s largest box port have been rerouted to London Gateway and Southampton.
“You are seeing how Southampton is being more and more affected by issues because of all the rerouting that has occurred,” added the source.
“It is still possible to get containers delivered at short notice, but the hauliers are ramping up the prices, so they have the incentive.”
Source: The Loadstar