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UK Port Crisis – is your Freight Forwarder supporting you?

With a huge amount of uncertainty in the industry and the current situation at the port of Southampton, Freight Forwarders need to understand the challenges its customers face and ensure they have the solutions and flexibility to support them.


With delivery bookings already running at up to two weeks in advance and the demand for drivers and equipment increasing, there has been a steady increase in haulage rates.

Freight Business Unit Manager, James Thorpe, has over 20 years of Freight Forwarding expertise and helps to find solutions for customers and the challenges they face.  James discusses the various issues that have recently come together resulting in the port of Southampton no longer just trying to stay afloat but to be in the eye of a perfect storm:

  • Poland has changed their social care policies and now provides residents with childcare which has seen a large percentage of Polish drivers return back to Poland.
  • A lot of migrant drivers have returned home as they are concerned about the current proposed immigration policies.
  • Problems caused by the integration of the new Felixstowe port IT system has caused delays and further congestion.
  • A number of UK hauliers have gone into administration due to increased fuel costs and driver wages which has been further compounded by the increase seen in containers on rail.
  • The rail option coming out of Southampton is fully congested and is creating a two week delay in bookings through lack of capacity.
  • The lack of infrastructure planning at the port of Southampton means that the new 22,000 TEU vessels are taking longer to unload so demand for fast delivery is at an all-time high thereby exacerbating the availability of equipment.
  • The industry is currently in peak which increases the number of containers arriving and leads to a lack of available space.
  • With carriers such as MSC announcing plans to divert its Indian subcontinent service (PAK) to London Gateway next week, it is only a matter of time before other carriers follow suit.

Freight - Containers - High Res - Smaller

How Is Your Freight Forwarder Supporting You With These Challenges?

CML works in partnership with its clients to understand and provide solutions to unforeseen problems such as these and our Customer Account teams are working closely with each client to plan ahead wherever possible.

There are a number of options available:

  • Booking in advance
  • Booking slots out of hours
  • ‘Drop and Swap’ solutions
  • Merchant haul options
  • Dedicated vehicle/driver allocation

CML’s dedicated Freight team are agreeing preferential terms for local restitution, free LOLO and free amendments to ‘through bills’ to allow greater flexibility on arrival time and, as such, has been successful in sheltering its customers from the impact of the storm.

Going forward the outlook is glum for importers who are already struggling however CML’s partnership approach ensures its customers are supported when such challenges arise.  As CML knows each client’s supply chain requirements, it can offer them personalised advice and solutions all backed up by an experienced and skilled team.   CML offers an unrivalled and dedicated service for its customers so they have the highest level of customer experience.

CML is here to help – please give us a call on 01455 200 700 and ask to speak to James Thorpe or our experienced Freight team who will be able to assist you.  Alternatively drop us an email to


Get In Touch To Find Out More About How CML Can Support Your Business

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