Box terminal operator hits back at ‘heresay and rumours’ about the availability of its Vehicle Booking System for container hauliers
DP World Southampton (DPWS) which last week said productivity at the southern UK port was being impacted by very high stack levels, has hit back at “heresay and rumours” over the availability of its Vehicle Booking System (VBS) for trucks.
The terminal operator has attributed the build-up of boxes to a combination of factors, some of which it claims are outside its control. The company explained that an unusually large number of empty containers, coupled with the normal pre-season peak volumes, have put additional pressure on its yard.
The increase in the duration of import dwell times means containers are remaining at DPWS’ terminal for a least a day and a half longer than they usually do before being collected by a haulier – a challenge since the end of August said to be due to the national problem with the UK haulage industry and its significant lack of available drivers.
“It goes without saying that we are being open and transparent with our customers and supply chain partners about our stack level,” a spokesperson told Lloyd's Loading List.
“However, there are a lot of myths and rumours being circulated. In particular, it is being said that hauliers and customers cannot get VBS appointments at Southampton.”
The spokeperson underlined that information about DPWS' VBS appointments and turnaround times for trucks “are visible for all to see on the home page of our website” with further details on its port status page. This provides real time analysis of truck turnaround times showing the average for the last 60 minutes. At one point earlier today it was 49 minutes and at another, 35 minutes.
It also gives information on DPWS’ landside performance over the previous day. The latest reading indicated that DPWS issued 3,205 VBS appointments yesterday but only 2,177 were used − “clearly showing that VBS appointments are available”, the spokesperson noted.
In addition, a ‘container stack report’ displays a live profile of the number and types of boxes currently being handled at the terminal.
“This information and other useful port status information gives our customers more visibility and the facts about what is happening at the port rather than listening to heresay or rumours,” the spokesperson added.
As reported in Lloyd’s Loading List, in an update on 28 September, DPWS said it was “maximising resources on both landside and shipside to minimise the impact of the high stack levels”, asking lines to temporarily stop using Southampton to tranship empties from the US to Asia and also to agree to prior consultation before using the port to discharge cargo for other ports, to help schedule recovery.
In addition, effective 1 October, DPWS has reduced the export-receiving window from the usual 10 days to 7 days “to deter export boxes being brought into the terminal too far in advance of the vessel’s arrival”.