Shipping goods over the Christmas Period

By Callum Hamilton on December 19, 2017 in Blog

Arranging transport for your goods over the Christmas period can be tricky business. Many transport companies have increased workloads and the fixed holidays create even more pressure in the high transport business. Add the possibility of adverse weather conditions to the mix, and you can see why things are more difficult at this time of year.

Here are a few of our hints and tips for transporting your goods over Christmas.

Road freight within the UK
Most pallet network companies and hauliers will have their last official working day as Friday 22nd December. Therefore, last collection day for ‘next day delivery service’ on a pallet network would be Thursday 21st December for delivery on Friday 22nd. Any delays to this would mean delivery on Wed 27th December.

Our hints and tips for road freight within the UK
As you would expect, space on pallet networks will be very tight at this time of year, so try to prepare any freight movements you have well in advance.
If you are trying to move full trailer loads from one end of the country to other, please remember most UK hauliers will want their trucks to be situated close to their main branch over the holiday period, so getting full loads may be difficult, especially closer to Christmas and New Year so plan well ahead.
Delays to all road haulage can be common especially in adverse weather conditions over winter.
If you have any time dependent deliveries to make/receive, one of the safest methods of transport is a dedicated vehicle for anything from small vans to full articulated vehicles. As long as we receive instructions well in advance it is possible to arrange deliveries as far up to Sunday 24th of December…. Nothing is impossible!

Courier movements over Christmas period to and from the UK
Most courier companies will have their last official working day as Friday 22nd December. Therefore, last collection day for ‘next day delivery’ service would be Thursday 21st December for delivery on Friday 22nd. Any delays to this would mean delivery on Wed 27th December.

Our hints and tips when transporting to or from the UK via courier
As you can imagine, this is the busiest time of year for courier companies, so we always suggest you plan and book well ahead to ensure you get your deliveries on time.
If you have time dependent deliveries to make/receive one of the safest method of transport is a dedicated vehicle. As long as we receive instructions well in advance it is possible to arrange as far up to Sunday 24th of December…. Nothing is impossible!

If you’re importing goods into Felixstowe or Southampton close to Christmas:

The usual method to transport your container from these ports to Scotland is via the rail service, please see below notification from network rail: Network rail have issued our rail operator with notification of an engineering blockade between Whifflet South Junction and Gartsherrie south junction. Network rail have advised all lines will be blocked from 2300 Sunday 24th December 2017 until 0400 Tuesday 2nd January 2018.

This closure directly affects access to Freightliner Coatbridge. Due to these circumstances Freightliner Coatbridge will be unable to accept or despatch any rail services to ports or inland terminals during this period.

The terminal however will remain open with restricted hours during this period allowing collection of containers. The last export service leaving Freightliner Coatbridge will be Friday 22th December 2017 and the first Imports service to be received will be Wednesday 3rd January 2018.

Hints and tips for transporting goods around the UK by rail
If your container is due to arrive in/around the time of the work mentioned above, there are other options. Whilst it is more expensive you can arrange to have your container road freighted up to Scotland rather than via rail.
You can also have your goods unstuffed from the container, palletized and then road freighted up on a pallet network or full trailer load.
Of course you can just wait until after this closure period but this would likely result in incurring demurrage.

Air freighting your goods to and from the UK over Christmas

Space with cargo carrying airlines is very tight on both export and import shipments and this will only get busier and more expensive closer to Christmas.

It may be possible to book space well in advance if you know readiness dates of your cargo depending on flight availability.

Don’t leave it to the last minute as you will probably be disappointed.

Sea freight to and from the UK over Christmas

Whilst space on ships to/from the UK shouldn’t be a problem over the Christmas period, you may struggle with is finding transport for FCL and LCL (link). In the run in to Christmas, transport for FCL is going to be charged at a premium. All we can recommend is too book your freight and transport well in advance to avoid disappointment. If this isn’t possible you may need to be more flexible on delivery/collection times; often a haulier can deliver/collect later on in the day.

Achieving the impossible!
As with anything in freight forwarding, nothing is impossible, and we can often achieve the impossible by communicating with the right people at the right time! The key to success is having a flexible approach!

Back to news

Be one of the first to hear about special events and keep up with the latest business news