Freight Industry: Delays Debate

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Department: Department for Transport

Freight Industry: Delays

Lord Rosser Excerpts
Thursday 17th December 2020

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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It is the case that traffic across the short straits is very frequent. There is a large volume of it and when small incidents occur, back-ups can happen. Actually, at this moment we are facing not only post-Covid freight movements but pre-holiday stock building, end of transition period stock building and increased spending on consumer goods. So, while we recognise that these factors will play an important role as we head into January, I believe that, if hauliers and traders are ready, we can minimise any delays.

Lord Rosser Portrait Lord Rosser (Lab) [V]
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What is the Government’s estimate of the costs to date to businesses in the UK economy of current delays and congestion at our ports such as Felixstowe, Southampton and London Gateway, which together represent 70% of container freight coming into the UK? What is their estimate of the cost of these delays to businesses and the British economy?

Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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I am not aware that the Government have done an assessment of that, because, of course, this is not a UK domestic problem but a global issue that is happening at the moment. What would normally happen is that the peak shipping time would be in October; what has happened this time is that it has extended well beyond October and is basically unprecedented. However, as I said to other noble Lords, we are working very closely with hauliers to improve container collection and working very closely with ports to make sure that there is sufficient capacity. A number of large container ships are changing their port of destination at quite short notice, so therefore there is a huge amount to be done. It is being done by private companies—it is a private sector—but the Government absolutely stand by, ready to help.