Vessels diverted from Felixstowe, in the face of ongoing service disruption, have resulted in ‘horror show’ delays for hauliers trying to collect containers from the port.

As the port’s £400m Liverpool2 container terminal prepared to welcome its biggest ships yet, owner Peel Ports said it hoped the move would show shipping lines why they should serve Liverpool rather than southern ports.

But furious hauliers have been reporting how they are having to wait for many hours as the port struggles to cope with the volume of containers on the diverted vessels.

Haulage firms say they’re losing money every day and are demanding that Peel Ports sort the problem out. A power failure last week added to the problems at the port.

Peel Ports has apologised for the delays and vowed to clear the backlog.

Two Maersk Line transatlantic services were among those temporarily switching to Liverpool, due to delays and congestion at Felixstowe, with local expectation that similar services may eventually move permanently to Liverpool.

Maersk acknowledges the port “has been experiencing some issues in managing haulier turnaround, with a number of drivers experiencing extensive delays.”

Peel Ports staff on the ground are trying their hardest working to resolve the situation, but the frustration of drivers wasting entire day’s on terminals to no avail is unabated.

The average turnaround time has been six or seven hours. We are monitoring to see if the situation is improving.

A spokesperson for the port operator said: “Peel Ports acknowledges the recent delays in turnaround times and sincerely apologises for the inconvenience caused.”

“The team is working tirelessly to fully clear the backlog of containers and return both terminals to normal safe operations as quickly as possible.”

Peel Ports says it is talking to customers about the situation and has brought in extra customer service staff and marshalls to support hauliers.

The gates to the port are also now open 24 hours a day.