Port working hard to clear snow

SNOW clearing operations were taking place at Britain's biggest port today to deal with the backlog of truckers waiting to drop and collect containers.

Richard Cornwell

SNOW clearing operations were taking place at Britain's biggest port today to deal with the backlog of truckers waiting to drop and collect containers.

Operation Stack is still in force - with some frustrated drivers having spent the night in their lorry cabs.

The port was able to re-open last night for a while to take delivery of boxes for export but could not process import containers for collection because of the snow and ice on the quaysides.

It allowed some truckers to get away from the holding stack on the old A45 at Levington and head for home.

Port officials said more snow clearing was taking place with sweepers and gritters this morning to create further areas where work could take place to get the lorries moving.

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Even so, only those delivering containers should head for the port - others should not travel at this time.

“The level and frequency of snowfall has been unprecedented, resulting in the drive lines and block numbering used by our rubber-tyred gantry cranes, internal vehicles and road vehicles to become obscured,” said a port spokesman.

“Attempts were made yesterday to clear these areas, but further heavy snow hampered this operation.

“However, an area was kept clear to receive export deliveries for a period of time, releasing a number of hauliers.

“We engaged the services of a contractor to assist in clearing areas back to operational use, but this is being done strictly in priority order and the first to be completed was an area to accept export deliveries.”

It was hoped that today it might be possible to begin limited shipside operations again - depending on the weather.

The port, which normally handles 6,000 containers a day, apologised for the inconvenience the disruption was causing but said the measures were to ensure the safety of all port users.

Lorry drivers should leave the A14 at the Seven Hills interchange to be directed into the stack holding area by police and Highways Agency officials.

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