Traffic chaos at port

DRIVERS were caught up in traffic chaos around Britain's biggest container terminal today - with the port set to remain closed all day after gales left stacks of boxes in a dangerous condition.

DRIVERS were caught up in traffic chaos around Britain's biggest container terminal today - with the port set to remain closed all day after gales left stacks of boxes in a dangerous condition.

Despite the wind dropping, officials said the Port of Felixstowe would not re-open until this evening because of the numbers of containers which had been blown about or dislodged.

Experts made a thorough inspection of the quayside storage parks, where tens of thousands of boxes are kept waiting to be collected by truckers or loaded onto ships, to assess the damage.

They found the hours of buffeting by the winds had left several stacks in a hazardous state and will spend most of today making them safe.

Many of the boxes are empty, waiting to be returned to the Far East to be filled up with goods for British shops, and are very light and easily moved by the high winds.

A port statement said: “The Port of Felixstowe continues to be affected by very strong winds.

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“Early investigations have identified a number of unstable stacks within the container storage areas and a robust recovery plan is being drawn up.

“There will therefore be a delay between the period when the wind drops and the port returns to normal service.

“We obviously recognise the inconvenience that this will cause to many of our users but are confident you will understand that safety considerations take precedence in this situation.”

Current indications are that the port will not return to full operations until about 7pm.

Port police said Operation Stack was in operation and all lorries should join the queues on the A14 Port of Felixstowe Road between the dock spur roundabout and Dock Gate One remaining in the outer lane until directed by a Suffolk police officer.

If the port bound carriageway is full, HGVs should queue on the opposite carriageway of the A14 waiting to loop back down at the dock spur roundabout to join the southbound carriageway once trucks can move.

A 30mph speed limit was in used on the inside lanes, adding to the congestion as portworkers arrived for work.

Lorry drivers were advised to stay away from the area if possible and to park up and wait until the terminal re-opens.

WEBLINK: www.portoffelixstowe.co.uk

Do you think Operation Stack works? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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