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Port of Felixstowe make changes to haulage system to ease container chaos

PUBLISHED: 11:52 08 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:37 08 October 2020

The Port of Felixstowe could bid for cash from a £200m government pot to help with the Brexit transition Picture: STEPHEN WALLER/COURTESY OF THE PORT OF FELIXSTOWE

The Port of Felixstowe could bid for cash from a £200m government pot to help with the Brexit transition Picture: STEPHEN WALLER/COURTESY OF THE PORT OF FELIXSTOWE

© Stephen Waller

The Port of Felixstowe has unveiled its plans to ease the container chaos which hauliers warned could affect the Christmas shopping rush.

Suffolk haulage firms accused the port of not providing enough time slots for hauliers to move containers off the quay.

Now, the Port of Felixstowe has announced it will make more slots available for hauliers to get on to the port via their Vehicle Booking System (VBS) and will bring in new measures to avoid slots being wasted.

The port said it will automatically cancel bookings between 11am and 7pm that do not have a container attached four hours before the time of booking and that any cancelled slots must be rebooked with a container attached.

MORE: Christmas presents in peril due to delays at the Port of Felixstowe

These changes will come into effect on Monday October 12.

A statement on the port’s website, dated October 7, said: “We have been monitoring the use of our Vehicle Booking System (VBS) closely in the last few weeks following feedback from industry about the availability of VBS bookings.

“When the VBS was first designed we went through comprehensive consultations with the local haulage community to give maximum flexibility and to allow bookings to be made without a container associated with the booking.

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“We wish to retain as much flexibility as possible but its design has encouraged some hauliers to secure as many bookings as they can, irrespective of their actual need. They then return unwanted bookings at the last minute by which time they are of limited benefit to other firms.

“Last week 11,704 bookings were returned and 6,679 bookings were unused.

MORE: Port haulage operator set to expand after taking on container business

“We will also be making additional information available via our website to show the number of bookings available, the number taken and the number that went unused at different times of the day.

“We believe these changes will improve the efficiency and availability of the VBS and allow us to, collectively, provide a more reliable service to shippers using the Port of Felixstowe.

“We will review how these changes are working after two weeks and reserve the right to make further changes should that prove necessary.”

No show charges will continue to apply for bookings that are made but not used.


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