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Hundreds of shipping containers stored at field near Felixstowe amid HGV driver shortage

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Metal mountain of Suffolk: Hundreds of containers are stored at field near Felixstowe as ports struggle with congestion caused by global shipping crisis and HGV driver shortage

  • Huge pile of empty containers stretching for 350ft being stored on former airfield off A140 near Eye, Suffolk
  • Felixstowe Port said it doesn’t know anything about the metal mountain and landowner refused to comment 
  • Industry source told MailOnline containers were ‘overflow from Felixstowe’, which has been hit by congestion

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A 60-foot-high shipping container mountain has been spotted in a field in Suffolk as the nearby port of Felixstowe struggles with congestion caused by a lack of lorry drivers and the global freight crisis. 

Hundreds of the empty steel containers stretching for 350 feet are being stored on a former airfield off the A140 near Eye, Suffolk, just 26 miles from Britain’s biggest freight port. 

Felixstowe Port said it doesn’t know anything about the metal mountain, as shipping companies and hauliers aren’t under any obligation to tell the port about their container arrangements.

But an industry source told MailOnline: ‘Essentially it’s overflow from Felixstowe. 

‘There are insufficient drivers to move empty containers and lots of congestion around the world because of Covid – some ports in China and further afield have been blocked and are just getting back up to speed. 

‘So it’s like a game of Jenga with lots of moving pieces. What’s happened here is that these containers have got snarled up at Felixstowe. 

‘Rather than leaving empty containers at the port and letting them clog it up further, what seems to have happened is a deal has been done with the landowner to temporarily store them there.’   

Hundreds of the empty steel containers stretching for 350 feet are being stored on a former airfield off the A140 near Eye, Suffolk, just 26 miles from Britain's biggest freight port

Hundreds of the empty steel containers stretching for 350 feet are being stored on a former airfield off the A140 near Eye, Suffolk, just 26 miles from Britain’s biggest freight port

Felixstowe Port said it doesn't know anything about the metal mountain, as shipping companies and hauliers aren't under any obligation to tell the port about their container arrangements

Felixstowe Port said it doesn’t know anything about the metal mountain, as shipping companies and hauliers aren’t under any obligation to tell the port about their container arrangements

An aerial photo taken on October 30 showing huge piles of shipping containers that have gathered at the Suffolk port

An aerial photo taken on October 30 showing huge piles of shipping containers that have gathered at the Suffolk port 

But an industry source told MailOnline: 'Essentially it's overflow from Felixstowe. 'There are insufficient drivers to move empty containers and lots of congestion around the world because of Covid - some ports in China and further afield have been blocked and are just getting back up to speed'

But an industry source told MailOnline: ‘Essentially it’s overflow from Felixstowe. ‘There are insufficient drivers to move empty containers and lots of congestion around the world because of Covid – some ports in China and further afield have been blocked and are just getting back up to speed’

Felixstowe has been suffering heavily from congestion in recent months. 

In October, it emerged container ships had been forced to divert from the port due to lack of drivers and labour shortages which hampered efforts to unload and reload ships. 

The problems have been worsened by increased demand over Christmas. 

Pictures from the port on the Suffolk coast showed containers piled up over the gigantic dockside, as the British International Freight Association said it understood average ‘dwell times’ for cargo at the port have nearly doubled in the last two weeks, from five to 9.7 days.

The source added: 'So it's like a game of Jenga with lots of moving pieces. What's happened here is that these containers have got snarled up at Felixstowe'

The source added: ‘So it’s like a game of Jenga with lots of moving pieces. What’s happened here is that these containers have got snarled up at Felixstowe’

'Rather than leaving empty containers at the port and letting them clog it up further, what seems to have happened is a deal has been done with the landowner to temporarily store them there,' the source said

‘Rather than leaving empty containers at the port and letting them clog it up further, what seems to have happened is a deal has been done with the landowner to temporarily store them there,’ the source said 

Yesterday, car and commercial vehicle dealer Roy Humphreys confirmed the shipping containers were on its land and not owned by them, but they did not want to comment further

Yesterday, car and commercial vehicle dealer Roy Humphreys confirmed the shipping containers were on its land and not owned by them, but they did not want to comment further

The backlog has been affecting major retailers including IKEA and major food companies including Nestle, the world’s largest food producer of coffee, baby food and chocolate, as well as tens of thousands of smaller UK businesses waiting for orders from all over the world.

Some cargo ships were being sent to European ports with containers moved into the UK via Dover or on smaller ships to less busy ports such as Hull and Liverpool because it was quicker to avoid Felixstowe. 

Today, the world’s biggest freight company Maersk said logistics problems across the global shipping industry would last well into next year.  

Yesterday, car and commercial vehicle dealer Roy Humphreys confirmed the shipping containers were on its land and not owned by them, but they did not want to comment further. 

The differently coloured shipping containers and the surrounding countryside have combined to create a strangely beautiful scene at the former airfield

The differently coloured shipping containers and the surrounding countryside have combined to create a strangely beautiful scene at the former airfield 

Felixstowe has been suffering heavily from congestion in recent months. In October, it emerged container ships had been forced to divert from the port due to lack of drivers and labour shortages which hampered efforts to unload and reload ships.' Pictured are lorries at the airfield

Felixstowe has been suffering heavily from congestion in recent months. In October, it emerged container ships had been forced to divert from the port due to lack of drivers and labour shortages which hampered efforts to unload and reload ships.’ Pictured are lorries at the airfield 

Some cargo ships were being sent to European ports with containers moved into the UK via Dover or on smaller ships to less busy ports such as Hull and Liverpool because it was quicker to avoid Felixstowe

Some cargo ships were being sent to European ports with containers moved into the UK via Dover or on smaller ships to less busy ports such as Hull and Liverpool because it was quicker to avoid Felixstowe

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