No Joy For Importers This Christmas
Importers, especially from Asia, have had a disastrous 2020 following the coronavirus and it looks like the Christmas period will be not be bringing any joy for those with containers snagged on the continent.
The difficulties in buying Far east origin products this year have included: the Chinese lockdown, European lockdowns, six months trade squeezed into four, a lack of space on containerships, a lack of equipment, massive UK port congestions and a delay in container transport.
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However, over the past few weeks, the UK congestion has perhaps caused the biggest issues, as the delays in unloading has resulted in many vessels departing our ports before their import containers have been discharged. Instead, the containers have been unloaded at European ports such as Rotterdam, Antwerp and Zeebrugge and would usually be fed back into UK ports on feeder ships within a few days.
At the moment, this process is taking up to four weeks, which means that many containers are stranded in Europe and are very unlikely to meet retail deadlines for having stock in stores, or on virtual shelves, for Christmas sales.
The delays are being incurred due to delays in those European ports, the current high pre-Brexit demand in European imports, and that feeder vessels are also being delayed at UK container ports.
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