Pascual downplays port strike

The impact of the port workers’ strikes in the United Kingdom on trade with the Philippines is minor and temporary, Trade Secretary Fred Pascual has assured.

“Philippine products may also be shipped to the UK via other European ports,” Pascual said.

Dockers of Felixstowe, UK’s busiest and biggest port in Southeastern England, have ended their walkout after the port owner offered a pay that includes a £500 one-off bonus payment. But they warned of more industrial actions after reaching no agreement with employers over the seven percent pay increase they are demanding.

Some shipments have been re-routed to minimize the impact of the port strike on Philippine-UK trade.

“As the largest container port in the UK, it handles more than a third of cargo entering the UK, including from Asia. The main products that pass through this port include food, electronics, garments, and automotive parts,” according to Pascual.

Earlier, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry aired concerns that the strike could indirectly impact other countries’ supply chains, including the Philippines’, as the UK port is a critical supply chain route to Britain.

“I hope this strike due to high inflation is not going to be a global trend. This is the concerning part,” PCCI vice president and CEO of EMS Group, a complete electronic and semiconductor subcontracting group, said.

Pascual said the effect of the Felixstowe strike will be more on delays “causing disruptions in supply chains and will possibly increase operational costs due to the diversion of shipments.”

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