Hamburg Sud's Cap San Augustin
Cap San Augustin

Problems continue to plague the UK’s major container gateway of Felixstowe – Hamburg Süd has announced it will begin diverting ships because of the delays.

For the next five weeks, the German carrier’s NESM and NETU services will call at Southampton instead.

Hamburg Süd said: “The on-going IT problems at the port of Felixstowe have resulted low productivity, and this has caused significant vessel delays.

“As a result, a contingency plan is being implemented to reduce disruption caused to business and ensure we’re able to deliver cargo in the timeliest manner possible.”

The decision to divert services to Southampton came as something of a surprise, given that Hamburg Süd’s UK hub is at DP World London Gateway.

Furthermore, the carrier says it has been forced to perform two ‘cut and runs’ – whereby a vessel unloads its cargo and departs port without waiting to load – again pointing to “operational constraints”.

Its Rio Blanco 824S call was the first to take up this option, a statement noting that export cargoes would be loaded onto the next available vessel.

Yesterday, Maersk intra-Europe subsidiary Seago informed customers that its Bremerhaven 811S service would only be discharging goods at Felixstowe, advising: “All export cargo will be transferred to the next available vessel, which at this time is the Seago Antwerp 811S [expected to run on 26 June].”

It told customers: “Please be aware this is a dynamic situation and any proposed contingency plan may be subject to change. We will provide you with timely updates as the situation develops.”

One industry source told The Loadstar ‘cut and runs’ would be the last resort carriers wanted to take: “Performing cut and runs leaves you losing freight and upsetting customers.

“It also causes significant delays in the supply chains as these boxes have onward destinations, and those could be to anywhere.”

Meanwhile, another source confirmed to The Loadstar that the Suffolk port continues to experience issues linked to the implementation of the new nGen terminal operating system.

The Hutchison-operated port installed the system at the beginning of the month, but despite claiming a “successful migration”, severe delays and cancellations have been reported since.

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