Portsmouth International Port in talks with government to ease container logjam across the UK with operators turning to the port to avoid congestion

THE government is talking to Portsmouth International Port about easing the UK’s container logjam, with operators using the port to avoid congestion elsewhere.

By Richard Lemmer
Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 1:28 pm

It comes as shipping giant Maersk has been re-routing some of its biggest ships away from Felixstowe port due to a backlog of containers.

Portsmouth International Port has been in talks with the government about how it can help alleviate congestion across the UK, with some operators already re-routing freight to keep trade moving, according to port director Mike Sellers.

The port boss said: ‘Regional ports around the UK can be part of the solution to the current congestion problem we’re seeing at the moment.

The freight entrance of the city's port. Picture: Richard Lemmer.

‘I’ve been talking to government about short, medium and long term solutions and highlighted the fact that there are options available by utilising the whole of the UK’s port infrastructure.

‘This is known as a feeder service, where larger vessels disperse their goods through European ports and then ship them across using smaller ships giving them access to wider range of ports.

‘Across at our cargo handling terminal Portico we’ve been helping to shift containers and are also seeing a variety of cargo coming through Portsmouth as operators look to avoid congestion and keep trade moving.

‘We’re here to help and have the capacity to manage so we would encourage shipping operators to get in touch.’

Portsmouth International Port director Mike Sellers. Picture: Solent News

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Trade ports have become ‘the jam in the sandwich’ between multiple supply chain issues, according to Tim Morris, chief executive officer of the UK Major Ports Group.

He said: ‘The pressures are being exacerbated by well-publicised issues impacting all UK supply chains, notably shortages of HGV drivers.

‘Ports therefore have to manage access to storage space very dynamically in extreme situations. This can mean some very limited short-term restrictions.’

The situation at Felixstowe, the UK's largest commercial port, is ‘improving’ and people should shop normally for Christmas, according to a minister speaking to Sky News.

Oliver Dowden said: ‘I quite understand why people are concerned… but we are working through these challenges.’

Last month saw Brittany Ferries – which operates from the city’s port – strike a £21m deal with an international freight firm, which will see the ferry firm increase the amount of trade it brings across the Channel.

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