Container shipping company Maersk has been forced to divert its large vessels away from the UK as a result of the country’s main port being packed full of containers.
Maersk began rerouting huge ships from Felixstowe, which sees roughly 36% of Britain’s container freight, and has opted to discharge UK-bound cargo in Europe before loading onto smaller vessels.
Maersk’s head of global ocean network Lars Mikael Jensen said an ongoing HGV driver shortage in the UK meant it was now taking longer to get fully loaded containers out of ports and empty ones returned for collection.
“We had to stop operations on a ship because there was nowhere to discharge the containers. Felixstowe is among the top two or three worst-hit terminals,” said Jensen.
“We are having to deviate some of the bigger ships away from Felixstowe and relay some of the smaller ships for the cargo.”
The Danish firm’s difficulties come as retailers begin to stock goods ahead of the Christmas shopping season, with Jensen warning that retailers may be forced to prioritise what exactly it is that they need to have shipped in the lead up to the holidays.
Importers, such as Tesco, have diverted containers onto the rail freight network due to the driver shortage, while air cargo volumes were also being pushed higher by the lack of capacity at ports.
As of 1025 BST, Maersk shares were up 0.70% at DKK 17,255.