Date: 16.12.2021

Critical Christmas considerations

Current supply chain stresses and Christmas holiday dates are combining to create specific festive challenges, that may impact your supply chain, which is why we have compiled those most likely to have an operational or financial impact. 

As we come towards the close of the year we are faced with challenges across the board, on all modes of transport, in all directions. With this year’s festive holiday period basically offering a two day delivery window, between the 24th December and 4th January. 

Issues that are being experienced and expected to escalate during the 10 day holiday period include:

  1. Ports, airports, rail heads will be lightly staffed, slowing vessel unloading/ loading with potential for delays, backlog of vessels or UK ports being omitted.
  2. Hauliers and drivers taking holiday will restrict vehicle availability and capacity.
  3. Clients’ warehouses/ DC’s will be closed or working on restricted staff numbers, with reduced booking windows.
  4. Vessels continue to arrive off schedule and are still changing daily on ETA/ETD or omitting ports.
  5. Airlines are cancelling large numbers of scheduled flights due to falling travel demand creating a shortage of cargo capacity, especially on long haul routes such as North America and Asia creating a spike in prices.
  6. Hauliers and shipping lines currently are primarily only accepting transport transactions after January 4th 2022.
  7. If ports become congested due to a slow down in equipment release and acceptance it is highly likely that they will not be able to receive either laden or unladen containers and these will be redirected to other interim holding areas/ ports as a consequence.
  8. Customs authorities will be operating with skeleton staff throughout UK and Europe – for any urgent brokerage requirements please ensure that these are highlighted as soon as possible.
  9. Shipping lines and Ports are not giving any extended free time or detention and demurrage days resulting in additional costs being incurred. These are likely to be incurred 5 to 7 days after arrival of vessels, when they do eventually berth.
  10. This list is by no means exhaustive and these observations are without the growing effect of the Omicron COVID variant, which looks likely to massively impact the UK infrastructure over coming weeks, leading to working restrictions and possible firebreak lockdowns.

Metro are doing everything that we can to mitigate additional costs but the reality is with a 10 day ‘virtual closure’ of the logistics sector in the UK and the growing influence of Omicron, additional costs may be unavoidable, whether as a recovery of issues as they occur, or through storage charges that are applied after free time periods are exceeded.

We will continue to keep you updated and advised on the conditions and events as they occur and we will advise on additional costs that are incurred, or likely to be incurred, as soon as we are aware of these.

We are asking customers to advise on their own arrangements for the festive period, in relation to warehouse availability, office attendance and out of office contact details so that we are able to communicate everything with you during the Christmas and New Year holiday season.

Metro will continue to operate, as key workers, from the office and remotely from home with the statutory holidays being observed, when we will be closed, like most other organisations. We understand the need for proactive and high level communication during the period, and as always, we will ensure that you are kept advised of the situation down to consignment transaction level.

Thank you for your support, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.