As you may have already seen or made aware, various shipping lines are in turn experiencing a port “shut-out” for returning empties, which seems to be rotating from liner to liner week by week.

This means due to a lack of space on the port (huge imbalances of containers are still a global issue) the port needs to leave room for import containers to off-load. If there is no room to do this, customers will not get their containers at all.

To keep containers flowing through the supply chain, the port has taken the decision to lower the number of empties being returned, so when delivery of your container is taken, there is a chance that particular line on that particular week will NOT be allowed to restitute its empty return back at Felixstowe, but instead have to divert elsewhere such as London Gateway Port, or Southampton Port.

Yet again, we are merely the messenger of bad news but, this is neither the fault of Freight Forwarders, or Truckers nor, in fact, the shipping lines either. To drive to an alternative port means extra fuel, cost and time which all costs money. We are also finding it more difficult to obtain haulage in the first place due to this, because truckers cannot afford to have their drivers using up HGV driving hours on one job, as opposed to moving on to the next. All extra charges incurred will need to be passed on to the importers, and these extra charges cannot be planned to avoid in advance due to not knowing who will or will not be allowed to return empties.

We’re sorry once again to bring bad news, but would also politely ask for your understanding on this ongoing matter when speaking to either Westbound staff, other forwarders or truckers directly. The Supply chain continues to work albeit with many deep cracks in multiple directions.


At Westbound Logistics we pride ourselves in offering personalised and tailored logistics solutions. To find out more please call 01375 800800 oemail