Nearly three weeks after their apology for service issues, Felixstowe have announced vehicle booking changes, but performance is now deteriorating at other key container ports.

Weeks of poor service, delays, and congestion at the Port of Felixstowe, blamed on a 30% spike in volumes and late vessels, led to vessel diversions, negative press reporting and huge increases in port user complaints.

To try and clear the container logjam the port released over 1,600 additional vehicle booking slots (VBS) in the last few weeks, but claim that hundreds remain unused each day, despite the large number of containers waiting collection.

The unused booking slots has been blamed on some hauliers securing 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 hauliers.

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

To resolve the situation Felixstowe is making changes to vehicle booking slots (VBS) from Monday 12 October.

We welcome the increased availability of VBS slots increase, but a scarce haulage resource is now spread even thinner and turnaround times for our drivers remains slow.

We are watching London Gateway, and Southampton closely as the recent vessel diversions from Felixstowe are now impacting operations at these ports, as they try to accommodate the additional volumes.