No sign of any rush for Christmas at port

FELIXSTOWE: There may be 128 shopping days to Christmas, but Felixstowe port has not yet seen any rush of goods arriving for the shops.

Usually by now the port’s quays are a hive of activity with the arrival of festive season goods bringing a massive boost to cargo volumes and workload.

Even though the big day may be four months away, shops start stocking up well in advance – especially as it takes around eight weeks for goods to travel from the Far East.

It is a peak time and one of the busiest of the year for Britain’s premier container terminal, but this year it hasn’t shown any signs of happening.

“Our volumes have been pretty steady all year so far,” said Paul Davey, head of corporate affairs at the port.

“Usually we have a Christmas rush which does start in August and goes on for the next couple of months.

“Whether that happens remains to be seen, but it is fair to say we are still waiting for it to materialise at the moment.”

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Since the recession began, port bosses have noticed a change in trading patterns.

At first, there was a considerable slump in business and although cargo levels are still well down, there has been a recovery and strong levels of business throughout this year.

Shops even stopped ordering goods because they chose to use up the stock they had in store.

Observers believe since then there has been a reluctance to order too much in case the public chooses not to spend.

Whether this is a sign that major retail companies are not expecting people to splash out this Christmas is yet to be proven.

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