How have strikes impacted shipments to Liverpool and Felixstowe Ports?

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Data from supply chain visibility provider FourKites has shown the extent to which strike action at the ports of Felixstowe and Liverpool has impacted the number of arriving shipments.

How have strikes impacted shipments to Liverpool and Felixstowe Ports?
Photo: Andrew / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

When it comes to Liverpool, FourKites data shows shipments arriving at the port dipped 55% week-over-week during the week of 11 September before the first strike began, suggesting shippers were potentially avoiding the port prior to the strike.

Moreover, FourKites saw shipments plummet during the weeks of 18 and 25 September during the first strike itself, as well as during the week of 9 October during the second strike.

According to FourKites, weekly shipments arriving to the Port of Liverpool during the weeks of 2 and 16 October were down by 46% and 68% respectively when compared to the beginning of August.

When it comes to Felixstowe, FourKites data shows a significant increase in days at terminal for containers currently at the facility. On 21 August (the day the first strike began), ocean shipments (including import, export and transshipment) at the Port of Felixstowe had been at terminal for 5.4 days on average for FourKites customers.

By 30 August, this had increased to a peak of 10.3 days on average, a 91% increase. After the initial strike ended, average days at terminal at Felixstowe decreased down to 3.8 days on average, though the onset of the second strike on 27 September has since caused this to increase again by 139% to 9.1 days as of 10 October.

In stark contrast, a number of major European ports (including Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, and Antwerpen) have remained mostly stable, with the 7-day average days at terminal at 6.0 days as of 17 October.

During the initial Felixstowe strike, FourKites saw shipment arrivals to Felixstowe decrease from 20% of all U.K. port arrivals (during the week of 7 August) to 0%. In this very time period, it appears that many shipments may have been rerouted to other ports in the U.K. such as Southampton, which saw an increase from 13% to 24% over the same two-week period. Felixstowe has also seen another decrease in shipment arrivals as the second strike began, decreasing by 57% week-over-week.

Commenting on the situation and the aforementioned figures, Glenn Koepke, Vice President Network Collaboration at FourKites, said:

“Shippers and BCO’s have been expecting the continuation of strikes at the UK ports of Liverpool and Felixstowe and many have built up inventory by importing product while ports were operational as well as shifting capacity to road freight from mainland Europe into the UK. We anticipate Liverpool not having a major impact on the UK economy but as peak season arises, shifting volumes to operational ports will put a strain on ports and ultimately affect shippers that are waiting last minute for freight.”


Photo: Andrew / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

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