European shippers are refusing contracts to move cargoes to the UK for fear that the chaos at Dover could repeat after Brexit.
Transporeon, a German software company that monitors real-time freight and tariff data for more than 100,000 logistics providers, said a "dramatic number" of freight forwarders had refused to deliver freight to the UK in the past two weeks, despite already doing so. . agreed contracts.
That's because the companies – who receive and ship goods on behalf of other companies – worry that they won't be able to return with a so-called backload or that they could get in line when trying to leave Britain.
The rejection rate for freight from France to Great Britain nearly tripled last week – compared to the third quarter average – and doubled for the Germany-Great Britain route as transport demand fell 68% for France-Great Britain Britain and 71% for Germany-Great Britain.
Freight forwarders tend to be less busy around Christmas – when drivers take holidays and businesses close – and the decline was expected to be more pronounced this year after companies stockpiled spare parts, food and production materials in the third quarter. Still, Transporeon's Oliver Kahrs said these factors alone could not explain the drop in demand.
"When trucks got stuck and couldn't cross the canal, it was an extraordinary situation unlike what we had last year," he said. Kahrs attributed the higher rejection rates to the chaos in Dover last week and also cited concerns that there could be more logjams after the UK exits the internal market and customs union on Thursday.
The UK government is still dealing with the unrest in Kent caused by France blocking cross-channel traffic for 48 hours to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
In a letter on Tuesday, the Logistics UK trade group warned that the lack of adequate sanitation or hot food in the port of Dover during the blockade was a "national embarrassment," adding that if the chaos repeats on January 1, "this lack of Drivers' welfare concerns may affect the willingness of EU carriers to send their drivers to this country. "
Photo: Trucks and vehicles in stationary traffic on the access road to Dover Harbor Ltd. in Dover, UK, on Wednesday 23 December 2020. Routes to Dover, Britain's busiest crossing port, are choked for days. France closed its border with Britain, blaming an outbreak of a new strain of the coronavirus. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg
Copyright 2020 Bloomberg.
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