Felixstowe and Antwerp Ports Delays Climbed in August
Sept. 29, 2020
The Port of Felixstowe, the UK's largest container port, has been experiencing high demand for road and rail capacity as import volumes have increased during peak season. The surge has caused landslide congestion. On September 25, the port shared on its website that it has been addressing the congestion with increased vehicle booking slots, extended hours, and recruiting operational staff.
We reviewed the port performance over the last two months to determine the impact of the congestion at Felixstowe. We analyzed vessel arrivals, vessel arrival delays, and berth times from July 26 through September 19, before the corrective actions were implemented.
We also took the opportunity to review one other Northern European port, the Port of Antwerp in Belgium, to see its performance during the same timeframe in peak season.
Felixstowe Vessel Arrivals Remained Steady
Over the eight weeks, the number of vessel arrivals at Felixstowe ranged from 19 to 22 vessels per week, except for the week of August 23 when the number of arrivals dropped to 14.
Antwerp, as Europe's second largest port, had an average of 115 vessel arrivals per week over the studied period. The number of weekly vessel arrivals at Antwerp had an increasing trend over the eight weeks.
Felixstowe and Antwerp Experienced Increasing Arrival Delays
Weekly average vessel arrival delays have increased over the last eight weeks at both ports. Felixstowe experienced its longest weekly average delay of 29 hours during the week of September 13, while Antwerp experienced its longest weekly average vessel arrival delay of 27 hours during the week of August 30.
Berth Times Trended Upward at Felixstowe
The weekly average berth times ranged from 38 hours at the end of July to 56 hours during the week of August 23 at Felixstowe. Its longest weekly average berth time was 47% higher than its shortest weekly average berth time during the studied period.
Antwerp, in contrast, had an increase of 29% from its shortest weekly average berth time of 21 hours at the end of July and its longest weekly average berth time of 27 hours during the first full week of August.
Antwerp's average berth times were much lower than Felixstowe's average berth times, which may be due to the fact that the average vessel size by TEU capacity was nearly double at Felixstowe compared to the vessels at Antwerp over the eight weeks.
While Felixstowe experienced extraordinary landside congestion in September, both Felixstowe and Antwerp ports have experienced increasing vessel arrival delays during the 2020 peak season.
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