The Freight Transport Association has today (Wednesday 30 January) called for as swift as possible a return to more normal operations at Southampton Container Port (SCT) following an accident there two weeks ago (Friday 18 January).
In the incident, in which no-one was injured, a crane collapsed on to a container ship. Due to precautionary safety concerns other cranes were subsequently taken out of action by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The port has now worked its way up to around half its usual crane capacity, with more cranes due to return to action over the next seven days. In response to the situation services have had to be diverted to continental ports and then feedered in on separate services to smaller UK ports.
Commenting on the situation, FTA's Head of Rail Freight and Global Supply Chain, Christopher Snelling said, 'Southampton is one of the UK's two most important container ports and the disruption there is creating huge difficulties for businesses across the country. Business needs SCT, the HSE and all others involved to work to as quick an improvement in the service as possible.
'We note the progress Southampton has made to date, and are hopeful the next seven days should see a further improvement.
'Given that the after effects of this situation could last for months, rather than weeks, FTA calls on SCT, and the shipping lines, to work with hauliers and rail freight companies as much as possible to mitigate the problems this will continue to create for UK business.
'The effects of this incident once again show the constrained nature of the UK's container port capacity and the fragile supply chain to the UK it creates.'
The Freight Transport Association represents the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air. FTA members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles – almost half the UK fleet. In addition they consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and over 70 per cent of sea and air freight. FTA's website can be found at www.fta.co.uk