Responding to a statement by the owners of the Port of Felixstowe that its recently introduced new terminal operating system (TOS) is now “stable”, BIFA director general Robert Keen said: “Our members still face significant problems at the port with shipping lines cancelling calls; or operating a cut-and-run policy, where the ship leaves before all containers that are booked are loaded, or discharged. Those members are also experiencing knock-on effects at other UK ports where vessels are being diverted, causing additional cost and disruption.”
Global port operator Hutchison Ports earlier this week said in a customer announcement on the Port of Felixstowe website that “over the last few weeks the performance of our new terminal operating system has been stable, as we continue to fine tune the system to optimise its effectiveness and deliver improved performance across all areas of our operation”.
Keen added: “Previously BIFA has expressed its disappointment that the port authority (Hutchison Ports UK), which owns Felixstowe has made it clear that it does not consider BIFA members to be direct customers of the port, and would not be willing to have a discussion about possible compensation for the damage caused and the increased costs that have been incurred by those members.”
BIFA reiterated that its members are port customers and “remain very disappointed that it (Hutchison Ports UK) is not even prepared to discuss any kind of compensation for such a complete failure in customer service.”
“The ongoing support of our customers during this difficult period has been greatly appreciated and we apologise for any delays or inconvenience suffered. We are aware that temporary vessel diversions to other ports are causing issues and we are in discussion with shipping line customers for the return of services to Felixstowe as soon as possible. At the same time we are maintaining our focus on productivity improvements to ensure that all customers receive the level of service they deserve,” said Port of Felixstowe in its announcement. There was no mention of compensation.