Maersk and MSC Try to Soften Felixstowe Port Disruption


Teething problems with the terminal management system at Hutchison Ports' Port of Felixstowe has caused the world’s top two container shipping lines to have to find ways to mitigate delays for customers’ cargo.

Lorry drivers experienced tailbacks of up to 16 hours at the UK's busiest container port after the introduction Hutchison Ports' modular terminal-management platform nGen on June 10.

Maersk Line has had to implement vessel contingencies, deploying more than 100 additional trucks to cover haulage requirements at Felixstowe and diversion ports.

The world’s largest ocean carrier stated that the “challenging” situation would cause diversions to continue into next week and that the problems may stop it from achieving full terminal productivity at Felixstowe for several weeks.

Maersk Line stated: “Landside rail and road operations are still being impacted and we are not seeing any improvement in this area.

“Our teams are continuously working on finding alternative solutions for your cargo and are closely cooperating with the port and terminal, in order to minimise to the extent possible any potential negative impact you may experience.”

In an update dated June 20, the world’s second-largest container fleet owner and Maersk’s 2M shipping partner Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) said: “Please be advised that the Port of Felixstowe’s (PoF) service to all associated shipping lines continues to be affected by an issue with the implementation of a new operating system.

“MSC is carrying out a diversion plan to minimize the impact on our customers.

“We will continue to keep customers informed with diversion updates and information about specific shipments.”

Read a Port Technology technical paper by QLess, 'Virtual Queuing: A Game-Changer for DP World Antwerp', to learn how to improve truck congestion at ports

The latest update by Hutchison Ports on June 18 on its “minor teething issues” stated that the average turnaround time for trucks at its container terminals was down to 48 minutes.

It added: “Quayside productivity is double that achieved in the early part of last week and rail operation has stabilized.

“Our team will continue to work 24/7 to iron out minor teething issues and bring service levels back up to our usual high standards.

“We are confident of further improvement over the coming days.”

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