Shapiro has received multiple reports that workers at two of the busiest container ports in the United Kingdom (UK)—Felixstowe and Liverpool—have voted to strike as a result of ongoing wage disputes, which will likely cause delays and disruptions for UK supply chains.

Beginning Sunday, August 21st, approximately 1,900 workers at the Port of Felixstowe will participate in an 8-day strike. The union is also rumored to be considering additional 24-hour and 48-hour work stoppages in the future, which will only prolong the mess.

Similarly, nearly 600 dockworkers and mechanical engineers have also voted to strike at the Port of Liverpool—although the dates of the strike have yet to be announced.

Carriers are already working to mitigate the impact to UK port operations by advancing or delaying their schedules; and they are also considering other contingency plans, which may include offloading cargo at other ports. However, the option to use German ports for offloading is limited, as a court ordered moratorium preventing Hamburg and Bremerhaven port workers from walking out over pay increases expires on Friday, August 26th.

Importers should be advised that supply chain disruptions are likely; and that additional fees for diversion, storage and inland haulage will be a possibility as well, in the event that cargo has to be redirected.

We will continue to monitor this conflict closely and will update our loyal customers as this situation develops.