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A train derailment at DP World-operated London Gateway has caused considerable disruption to port schedules, at a time when itineraries are already strained.
The incident, at the port railhead last week according to an anonymous source, means containers are “stuck at inland railheads ” and “everything is having to move by road”.
The derailment also caused “significant” damage to the tracks, according to internal company circulars, and rail operators at inland terminals are refusing to take new bookings due to storage problems.
But despite this, it appears the timeline for the resumption of normal service has been pushed forward – a previous report suggested the disruption would not be rectified until Friday, but an estimate today anticipates service will resume within the next three days.
More growing pains are likely for the UK rail freight industries, with various initiatives in place to bring about a modal shift from trucking, following a departure of many European nationals from the UK haulage industry.
Capacity will almost certainly need to increase in both segments following the new customs regime resulting from Brexit entering force on 1 January. A general increase in rail cargo handled at London Gateway appears to corroborate this, with some 888,000 teu handled in the first half of last year, itself a 23% increase over the same period of 2020.
Elsewhere, ro-ro lines have increased their capacity thanks to continuous growth in volumes, compounded by an expectation of ever-greater demand this year.