Japanese carmaker, Honda, has halted car production temporarily at its Swindon plant in the UK owing to port delays and a shortage of components.

Honda’s Swindon plant makes up to 160,000 Honda Civic cars each year although the Japanese company announced earlier this year that the plant would close permanently in 2021, with the loss of about 3,500 jobs.

Cargo interests are increasingly affected by congestion at UK container ports including Felixstowe, Southampton and Thames Gateway. These are caused by logistical imbalances resulting from surging Asia-Europe trade.

Stockpiling by companies concerned about trade disruption in the wake of an increasingly likely Brexit is adding to the congestion, according to reports.

Felixstowe has been particularly hard hit, following consignments of delayed PPE equipment stuck in the port, as well as an excess of empty boxes following the Asia-Europe trade surge of the last few months.

Shippers with consignments on this trade lane have been faced with huge premiums on the booming route, as well as additional charges for Felixstowe shipments. Several container lines have diverted services to ports on the European continent.

Cargo receivers in the UK are facing extra charges for transhipped cargo, either on regional feeder services or through the Channel Tunnel.

Dominic Goudie, Head of International Trade at the UK’s Food and Drink Federation, an industry association, said that port delays are now costing some small UK businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds each month, and preventing them from focusing on preparations for likely further disruption now seen as inevitable after Brexit.

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