British mainstream media headlines are awash with empty supermarket shelf pictures and concerns about Christmas shopping on day two of a planned eight-day strike at the country’s largest container port.
Nearly 2,000 workers downed tools yesterday at the port of Felixstowe on the east coast of England, demanding improved pay. The strike comes as another British port, Liverpool, plans similar protests and the nation’s trains have also been hit by militant action.
The port of Felixstowe, operated by Hutchison Ports, handles more than 4m teu per year – making the strike an impact on roughly 11,000 teu per day, according to data from Sea-Intelligence. The volumes handled, account for just under half of the container volumes in the UK.
“The impact will be felt on the supply chains in the UK for all types of goods. Significant amounts of import cargo to the UK are likely to be discharged on the European continent,” Sea-Intelligence noted in its most recent weekly report.
Lars Jensen, CEO of liner consultancy Vespucci Maritime, suggested via LinkedIn last week: “With such large strikes carriers are likely to have to offload UK-bound cargo in major hubs such as Antwerp and Rotterdam and as a consequence further worsen existing congestion problems on the continent as well.”
A host of carriers including Maersk and Cosco have already told customers they will ditch calls to the UK this week.
Digital freight platform Flexport estimates that it could take 24 days to clear cargo backlogs from the strike at Felixstowe.