A quick resolution to the supply chain woes caused by strike action at UK ports seems unlikely, according to analysts, project44.
Strike action resumed at Felixstowe, the UK’s leading container port, on September 27 and will run for eight days.
“The collective bargaining process has been exhausted and there is no prospect of agreement being reached with the union,” said an official statement issued by Hutchison Ports, the company that runs Felixstowe.
Last month’s strike at Felixstowe drove the UK’s vessel dwell times up by 88.1% month-over-month, with repercussions felt throughout Europe. On average, export containers wait about seven days at Felixstowe before being loaded on to a vessel; this increased threefold during the last round to strikes to 21 days.
Felixstowe is not the only UK container port blighted by strike action. More than 560 port operatives and engineers at the Port of Liverpool began a two-week strike on September 19 in a long-running dispute over pay. This effectively means that two UK ports will be closed at the same time for seven days.
Shipping was not at its peak at the time of previous strikes so the impact was manageable, says project44. However, with Christmas fast approaching, the impact this time may put the already troubled supply chain under unmanageable pressure, it warns.
Given the mood of dock workers at major British container ports, a quick settlement of these industrial disputes is unlikely, says project44.
Source: Port Strategy