Thursday, 2 August 2018

Furious lorry drivers slam 'horror show' delays for hours at Port of Liverpool


Port bosses have even had to put out "deckchairs" for drivers stuck at the docks


Last week the port's £400m Liverpool2 container terminal started welcoming its biggest ships yet . 
Owner Peel Ports said it hoped the move would show shipping lines why they should serve Liverpool rather than southern ports.
But furious hauliers have told the ECHO they're having to wait at the port for many hours as the portstruggles to cope with the volume of containers. 
Port bosses have even had to put out "deckchairs" for drivers stuck at the docks.
Haulage firms say they're losing money every day and are demanding that Peel Ports sort the problem out. A power failure yesterday added to the problems at the port.
Peel Ports has apologised for the delays and vowed to clear the backlog. 


A long queue at lorries at the Port of Liverpool, as seen in a video clip sent to the ECHO by an anonymous driver
A long queue at lorries at the Port of Liverpool, as seen in a video clip sent to the ECHO by an anonymous driver 

Peel Ports built Liverpool2, best-known for its giant red cranes that tower over the Mersey, so the Port of Liverpool could welcome the world's biggest ships. 
A sinkhole opened up on the terminal last year but was fixed within months and Peel said it did not affect operations.
Two weeks ago, Peel Ports announced that two transatlantic services were temporarily switching to the city thanks to delays and congestion at Felixstowe. It hopes similar services will eventually move permanently to Liverpool. 
The ECHO has been contacted by several hauliers who are furious at the delays they say began when the big ships first arrived last week.


The Liverpool2 terminal has been built to welcome the world's biggest ships 

We have seen a tracking report for one lorry, which showed it got to the port at 7am on Monday and only left at 6.30pm, barely moving all day long.
And we have seen an email from shipping giant Maersk, one of the lines now using Liverpool2. It acknowledges the port "has been experiencing some issues in managing haulier turnaround, with a number of drivers experiencing extensive delays."
A boss at one Merseyside haulage firm, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "It's making us look poor to the shipping world.



Liverpool2 is a great thing for the city. But what should have been a great thing has become a disaster. 
"Businesses are losing money left, right and centre because the port isn't working.
"We need to work together with the port to get something sorted out, or turn the ships away. Otherwise we'll end up out of business.


The Liverpool2 container terminal. centre left, and the Port of Liverpool 

"Local firms are taking the hit because the port has bitten off more than it can chew."
That boss said "deckchairs" had been put out for drivers to give them a chance to leave their cabs.
On Twitter, Chris Gilmore said he had spent the past week dealing with "horror show" delays at Seaforth. 



He said: "Feel sorry for the @PeelPorts staff on the ground who are clearly trying their hardest working to resolve it but they must understand the frustration of drivers wasting entire days on terminals to no avail.
"This is an embarrassment to our city @PeelPorts, our region and to shipping."
Another haulier called the ECHO to say there were "wagons everywhere" as the port struggled.


The Liverpool2 container terminal can welcome the world's biggest ships
The Liverpool2 container terminal can welcome the world's biggest ships 

He said: "There are thousands of boxes coming in and the port can't cope. It's a massive problem.
"This has been going on since last Monday. It's getting worse and worse."
The haulier said one colleague had waited at the port for eight hours for a container and eventually had to leave without it.
He said: "They were sat there all day for no reason. You've still got to pay for the driver, the vehicle, the trailer, the fuel. And you're getting no revenue."




And another haulier said: "The last week has been absolutely atrocious. They've had the big ships coming in and can't handle it.
"The average turnaround time in the last week has been six or seven hours.

"There were no facilities for drivers, but now they're giving out free water and shelter, just because of the sheer amount of time the drivers are waiting."
A spokesperson for the port operator said: “Peel Ports acknowledges the recent delays in turnaround times and sincerely apologises for the inconvenience caused.


The Port of Liverpool at Seaforth

"Yesterday, Tuesday 31st July, the Port experienced a temporary power outage affecting the IT systems operating the container terminals. This outage was fixed on the same day and operations resumed.

"The team is working tirelessly to fully clear the backlog of containers and return both terminals to normal safe operations as quickly as possible.”
Peel Ports says it is talking to customers about the situation and has brought in extra customer service staff and marshalls to support hauliers. And it confirmed more "comfort facilities", including toilets and catering, are now in place at the new terminal.
The gates to the port are also now open 24 hours a day.

Liverpool long delays anything from 7 to 28 hour waits to drop and collect boxes and hauliers moaned about Felixstowe IT system they only got 2 vessels from Felixstowe and can't cope

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