Angry drivers hit out at Port chaos

ANGRY lorry drivers at the Port of Felixstowe claim congestion has got so bad they have been left stranded in queues for hours while the port shuts down parts of its operations.

ANGRY lorry drivers at the Port of Felixstowe claim congestion has got so bad they have been left stranded in queues for hours while the port shuts down parts of its operations.

Limits are set on how many lorries can be in the working areas of the docks at any time – all other lorries have to wait in a holding area.

Port workers claim that on some occasions drivers have been left waiting in these areas for up to six hours, and may regularly queue for at least two.

One man, who works as a lorry driver at the port, told The Evening Star: "Its absolutely pathetic down here at the moment. I've been working on this dock for ten years and it's the worst I've ever known it. They're expanding the dock and they just haven't got the staff to cope."


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"The place just gets clogged up and then they have to close for congestion."

He claims that at around 3pm most days the Trinity terminal is closing and lorries cannot even get signed in.

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He said: "The people suffering the most are the ones that come long distances and are restricted as to how many hours they can work in a day. If they sit in queues here for hours they end up being late for their next job, or missing it completely."

"Some days they can come down here and it'll be two hours before they even get on the system."

Another dock worker, who declined to be named, said: "We shut nearly every afternoon for congestion at the moment. It has been bad for a long while but the last month has been awful."

A spokesman for haulage company Hanbury Davies agreed there had been some problems. He said: "I believe there are some problems around currently with delays at the Port, but it is the holiday peak."

A spokesman for the Port admitted they have closed the gates of the holding areas on a few occasions but stressed this is for health and safety reasons and said that they were recruiting with a view to the expansion.

He said: "We aim to have an average turnaround time of 40 minutes but this has, in recent weeks, been fluctuating a bit above and a bit below that."

He said problems arose because it is their peak holiday period and disproportionate numbers of vehicles are arriving in the afternoon.

"We are making various attempts to address this with the haulage industry and the shippers and trying to spread arrivals more evenly throughout the day," he said.

He said Port officials have regular meetings with the Road Hauliers Association to address any grievances workers may have, and that dissatisfied workers should make their views known to the RHA.

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