Britain’s Christmas will require a “Dunkirk-style” removal of goods from EU ports onto smaller ships destined for the UK to fulfil orders, according to experts.
According to home delivery brand ParcelHero, the next two weeks are critical in order for retailers to stock their warehouses for Christmas.
However the huge bottleneck at Felixstowe means that container ships loaded with toys and gifts are now sailing away to EU ports.
“There was a huge build-up of containers at the Port of Felixstowe, the country’s largest port, where 36% of all containers should arrive,” ParcelHero head of consumer research David Jinks said.
“It created a huge shipping log-jam. Because of the bottleneck, Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company, is diverting its huge container ships away from the UK to EU ports.
“Maersk is re-routing large container ships, groaning with goods ready for Christmas, to ports across Europe in the hope they can eventually reach the UK via road and ferry, or on a flotilla of smaller ships.
“Maersk’s boss of global ocean networks, Lars Mikael Jensen, has told the Financial Times: ‘We are having to deviate some of the bigger ships away from Felixstowe and relay some of the smaller ships for the cargo.’
“That means Britain’s Christmas is relying on a Dunkirk-style removal of goods from Europe onto smaller ships bound for ports across the UK.
“That looks to be the only way to bring many of Britain’s Christmas gifts safely home.”
Britain’s worsening truck driver shortage is also meaning that it is taking up to 10 days before cargo at Felixstowe can be unloaded, up from the usual four and-a-half days.
According to Jinks, that’s why Maersk has chosen to avoid Felixstowe by using EU ports to land goods destined for the UK.
He believes that his will add new delays, especially with Brexit checks in place.