The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has slammed the Port of Felixstowe this week for failing to confer with the industry before introducing a new and “challenging” booking system for hauliers delivering and picking up goods from the port.

The Port of Felixstowe is replacing its Vehicle Booking System (VBS) with a Container Booking System (CBS), which RHA warned this week could create greater costs and delays for hauliers using the port. Felixstowe Port has launched a 12 week trial of the new system.

RHA managing director, Richard Smith attended the Felixstowe Port Users Association EGM in Felixstowe late last week, along with RHA vice chair Tim Wray, to discuss the upcoming changes at Felixstowe Port.

Smith said: “The port is currently looking to move from the current Vehicle Booking System (VBS) to a challenging Container Booking System (CBS). This has potential implications for hauliers by increasing costs, driving operational inefficiency, and reducing the flexibility of the service the port can offer.”

He added: ”I was encouraged to see that the port is planning to run a trial of the new system over the next twelve weeks and has committed to ensuring all feedback and learnings will be taken into account before going live in October.

“However, we feel that there could have been better engagement with the haulage community prior to its inception. The port has committed to being more open and collaborative with the haulage community going forward to ensure everyone is included in the process.

”I urge the port management team to take all feedback into consideration as this port is critical to the economy, both locally and nationally, as an integral part of the UK’s supply chain,” Smith added.

MT is awaiting a response to its request for comment from Felixstowe Port.