Lockdown, falling demand, store closures and limited warehousing operations, are forcing some shippers to leave their cargo uncollected at the port, raising concerns that supply chains could break down if ports become too congested.

The World Shipping Council (WSC) has urged national governments to support policies that ensure a fluid flow of cargo through container terminals.

All UK container terminals are operating normally, subject to absences and Covid-19 safe working practices.

This is not business as usual, but generally speaking, Norman Global Logistics and our peers continue to keep goods moving, even amid the tightening measures that are being taken globally to combat COVID-19.

In many parts of the world, backups at warehouses, shortages of truck drivers, and scheduled deliveries of goods that importers cannot sell are causing cargo owners to leave cargo at the ports.

While this is not the case in the UK, there are fears that delays or disruption in one part of the supply chain becomes a bottleneck and will trigger disruption elsewhere, ultimately impacting the UK.

If we are to avoid the congestion that is building in the US, there is a need to come up with solutions to manage the wave of unneeded inventory that is now in transit and about to land at ports in locked-down Europe.

In the United States, container lines, ports, and forwarders have warned of congestion from imports piling up at marine terminals.

If more US retailers and manufacturers fail to pick up containers, ports will run out of places to store incoming shipments, resulting in rising congestion and unavailability of empty equipment, which will lead to carriers voiding the port.

This is not yet the case in the UK – and it may not occur – but BIFA the UK freight forwarding trade association has called on carriers and terminal operators to exercise restraint before issuing detention and demurrage charges.

In response the ports and carriers confirm that there is no Force Majeure and they will continue to charge quay rent and demurrage, as they believe importers will simply use the terminals and sheds to provide free storage.

If you have concerns abut shipments in transit, or forthcoming orders, talk to us now. We can find solutions to protect you from rent and demurrage charges, by providing low-cost origin and UK storage solutions and even the possibility of intercepting consignment en-route, until conditions improve.