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MSC drops Felixstowe as IT-related delays continue

MSC drops Felixstowe as IT-related delays continue

Problems following installation of new terminal operating system sees MSC head to London Gateway

Mediterranean Shipping Co has joined Maersk units Hamburg Süd and Seago in diverting vessels away from Felixstowe as the UK’s main gateway port continues to suffer from severe congestion.

In an advisory note to customers today, MSC said that because of the operational delays at the Port of Felixstowe it had diverted vessels to London Gateway and Tilbury, and would use its intermodal services to deliver containers to customers.

The move follows a similar announcement by Hamburg Süd that it will divert two of its services to Southampton instead of calling at Felixstowe.

Problems began to emerge at Felixstowe following the installation of a new IT system earlier this month.

The Hutchison-run terminal installed its new nGen terminal operating system, which it runs at several Hutchison’s other terminals around the world, but problems with the implementation have led to congestion at the gates.

Drivers have complained of waits of up to 16 hours to enter the terminal.

Maersk’s Seago unit said it would not be taking export cargoes from the terminal as a result.

In a statement, Felixstowe said performance across all areas of the container division had improved significantly in recent days.

“The average turnaround time for trucks at our container terminals is down to 48 minutes,” it said in a statement. “Quayside productivity is double that achieved in early part of last week and rail operation has stabilised.”

Felixstowe said it would continue to work to address “minor teething issues” and bring service levels back up to its usual standards.

“The new operating system will provide the Port of Felixstowe with an efficient, stable and reliable platform to support service delivery for many years to come,” it said. “We apologise to any customers or port users who have suffered delay or disruption during its implementation.”

Felixstowe is the UK’s biggest and busiest container port, facilitating the movement of goods carried by 3,000 ships each year. Around 30 shipping lines operate from the port, offering about 90 services to and from 400 ports around the world.

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