Container congestion – BPA makes statement

Image courtesy Marco Bianchetti, Unsplash.

Richard Ballantyne responds to media reports calling for an inquiry.

The British Ports Association (BPA) has responded today to calls from importers for a Parliamentary inquiry into the continuing congestion in British ports. Nearly all of the UK’s major ports are experiencing high levels of traffic and congestion, and the situation is beginning to threaten supply chains.

A statement by the BPA’s Chief Executive, Richard Ballantyne, reads: “UK ports are working hard to keep trade flowing, and most are managing some unusually high volumes as a result of unprecedented volatility this year. Whilst we appreciate difficulties that some importers have experienced in recent weeks, this is certainly not a systemic issue nor is it unique to the UK. The underlying issues are well understood and there is no case for significant intervention or change to Government policy.”

The backlogs in British ports are due to a perfect storm of factors, namely the continuing pandemic and the transition to a post-Brexit trade and customs environment. Stockpiling has accelerated demand for key supplies and many retailers have amassed reserves to see them through the transition period. However, problems with storage space and container availability have led to log jams and calls for intervention.

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