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UK imports pile up without pick up, devouring warehouse space

A SURVEY by the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) shows that 90 per cent of respondents reported facilities at full capacity and suggested the overall UK market had just 10 per cent capacity available

27 April 2020 - 18:22

A SURVEY by the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) shows that 90 per cent of respondents reported facilities at full capacity and suggested the overall UK market had just 10 per cent capacity available.

As a result, UKWA chief executive Peter Ward believes remaining capacity is likely to be full by early May, as imported goods pile up at storage locations and social lockdowns has wiped out consumer demand, reported London's Loadstar.



'With outbound flows severely reduced or stopped altogether, as stores and factories are closed, inbound flows have become a mounting problem,' said Mr Ward. 'Inbound supply chains continue towards destination, arriving at ports, requiring receipt, handling, onward distribution and storage.'



UKWA estimates there are 1.5 million pallet positions available across the country, largely in third-party warehouses, to which UK retailers are increasing having to turn for storage as their own distribution centres are full.



Mr Ward said: 'UKWA estimates an import volume through south and southeast deepsea ports of 45,000 TEU a week for the foreseeable future. This weekly volume is likely to require storage of some 750,000 pallets until lockdown is eased and retail stores reopen.



'Although we expect numbers of fulfilled orders arriving in the UK to be dropping by the end of May, over the coming month the search for additional space could become desperate.'



Despite the pressure this is placing on hinterland supply chains, UKWA suggested ports and terminals and shipping lines should continue to levy quay rent, as well as demurrage and detention charges, to 'encourage importers and cargo owners to clear containers through the ports'.


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