Hauliers working out of Felixstowe Port are enduring three-hour turnarounds, almost a month after the container terminal overhauled its IT system.

Felixstowe introduced a new terminal operating system on 10 June, but teething problems drastically extended turn-around times for hauliers.

Dave Perfect, MD at West Thurrock-based D Perfect & Sons, said the system had failed miserably and the port was treating firms with disdain and contempt.

He said: “I have almost stopped working out of Felixstowe. We were doing 20 to 30 jobs a week and now we are doing eight to 10.

“The whole system has been shocking. Every haulier working out of Felixstowe is having the same issue to get tipped and loaded. We’ve been running overnight to avoid peak times and delays, but still it’s hitting us with two to three hour turnarounds.”

Another Felixstowe haulier, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “There’s a log jam of resource. It’s not good. It has still got a long way to go to reach a reasonable level of service.

“Vessels don’t get loaded quickly enough, trucks don’t get turned around quickly enough and trains are not loaded to their full potential.

“It is very, very difficult. The timing couldn’t be worse given that volumes are rising during a busy period.”

Robert Keen, director general of the British Inter-national Freight Association, said: “It is astonishing that a port authority, which owns the UK’s busiest container port and has been happy to market it as the Port of Britain, implemented a new and vitally important system with apparently no fall-back position if it went wrong.”

Richard Burnett, RHA chief executive called for compensation for those affected too. He added that the issue illustrated the importance of successful customs and border negotiations over Brexit: “What’s happened at Felixstowe is a stark warning to politicians about the dangers to the supply chain over delays at ports.

"The 16 hour delays we’ve seen here are a drop in the ocean compared to the chaos we face without free flowing borders after Brexit – devastating the supply chain and the British economy. It’s a wake-up call to the government.”

A statement from the Port of Felixstowe said: “In the past week we handled more road vehicles than in the week before the new system went live, although we recognise that average haulier turn-around times still need to improve.

"We apologise to any port users who are continuing to experience delays and inconvenience. We are fully focused on rectifying this situation as soon as possible.”

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