Friday, April 16, 2010

European Air Freight Disrupted But RoRo Ferry Services Running Fine

Foot Passengers At Capacity; Freight Services OK
Shipping News Feature

UK - While almost all press coverage given to the volcanic ash cloud covering much of northern Europe has been on the effect on passenger transport, freight across the continent has been badly disrupted for many logistics companies.

Chris Green, Airfreight Director at freight forwarders W.E. Deane of Barking, said:

“Obviously there is a major backlog of air freight to all destinations. Some cargo to European markets has been routed to trailers but all customers have been very understanding knowing this is an exceptional situation and are waiting patiently for traffic to recommence.”

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has also expressed concern over the effect that delays on air shipments will have on perishable goods.

They point out that though air freight accounts for only a half a percent of the UK's international goods movements by weight, these account for 25 percent by value, with valuable commodities such as pharmaceuticals, luxury goods and fresh produce having limited shelf lives.

The FTA also expressed concern that should the ash cloud continue to impede air transport then shops across the UK and Europe could see supply problems developing next week on products from outside the EU.

However, for inter-European transport the picture is fine for trailer operations.

P&O Ferries at Dover report that freight is running normally but tell us that they have no available foot passenger bookings before Monday. Such is demand that their website is temporarily disrupted due to the heavy traffic.

Sea France, Norfolkline and LD Line ferries are reported to have some foot passenger spaces still available and to have no problems on their freight services.

Bob Goldfield, Port of Dover Chief Executive said that: “We were delighted to help passengers who would otherwise have been stranded continue their journey. Our contingency plans were swiftly implemented in order to provide the best service we can to them.”

Irish ferries came close to bursting this morning with both the 6am and 8.50am departures to Holyhead fully laden. However, they were delighted to tell us that not one passenger was left on the quayside.

The return journeys to Dublin saw the 12.30 sailing again full but some space available on the14.10 sailing. The situation remains the same for this evening’s voyages and the 20.55 sailing should have space for foot passengers.

None of the Irish, UK or European ferry routes report any problems with their freight services.