The supply chain in the UK has come under great strain due to the global effects of the pandemic, the increased demands of goods over Christmas, and the uncertainty caused by Brexit. Delays in shipments and excessive amounts of time taken in unloading vessels are leading to increased freight costs, which ultimately translates to higher product prices for end-consumers.
The coronavirus pandemic had disrupted freight transport globally as production schedules and demand shifted overnight. But the recent problems in the logistics industry have more to do with overcrowded ports than with supply chain disruptions caused by global shipping. The largest port in the UK, Felixstowe in Suffolk, has come under the microscope for causing a blockage in the supply of goods. According to Felixstowe, a partial reason for the delay were the shipments of the personal protective equipment that had been ordered by the government.
In response to the logistics industry’s complaints, the government has blamed the delays in goods delivery on the global disruption in the supply chain. However, businesses maintain that they had pointed out the problem at the ports long ago. Since the UK ports aren’t able to accommodate the increased shipments coming in due to increased orders at Christmas time, the time for unloading ships has increased significantly, creating huge backlogs at ports. Due to extreme delays, congestion charges are being added by carriers. The result is that product prices are increasing from 3 to 4 times, making goods extremely overpriced. To avoid going into a loss, businesses have to either stop importing products or ask the customers to pay the extra charges.
The result is that product prices are increasing from 3 to 4 times, making goods extremely overpriced. To avoid going into a loss, businesses have to either stop importing products or ask the customers to pay the extra charges.
To solve the problem, people from the logistics, ports, and shipping industries have requested the government to increase the capacity for loading and unloading containers at the port. Some ways to do it include allowing hauliers more hours to collect containers, having more trains run to and from ports and for longer durations, and letting drivers do longer shifts when possible.
The goods are not just stuck at UK ports; instead, businesses are reporting that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get their goods out of China and Asia because fewer numbers of ships are setting out for the UK from these countries. To avoid the disruption at UK ports, many ships sailing from Asia are choosing ports in northern-European locations over the UK, further delaying the delivery of imports to the UK. These delays are resulting in unusual price hikes for customers in the UK.