Christmas gift shortage: major port closure could disrupt goods bound for UK

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Product shortages have been in the headlines in recent weeks and months, with Brexit and the pandemic to blame for disrupted goods and missing deliveries. Due to shortages of drivers and staff in the food, hospitality and logistics sectors, the British have noticed shortages of various items nationwide including bottled water, sweets , chips, beer, etc.

Prices paid for containers have reached record highs in recent months, as global trade networks have been damaged by disruptions at ports and borders since the start of the pandemic.

According to data from VesselsValue, 352 large container ships are currently at sea at anchor, waiting to enter ports around the world.

Nick Glynne, managing director of online retailer Buy It Direct, has warned that closing the port of Ningbo-Zhoushan will only add to the long list of problems UK businesses are currently facing.

He said: “It’s not a good sign for a Merry Christmas or even Black Friday.”

Industry executives said companies were doing their best to correct the problem, with some companies offering login bonuses worth £ 1,000 or more to drivers.

Andrew Opie, director of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), was confident there would be no disruption issues at Christmas.

He said: “Christmas is extremely important for retailers and customers, and businesses are already getting ready.

“While we don’t anticipate any problems, retailers will take whatever steps are necessary to mitigate any possible disruption. “

There are also fears that the upcoming holiday in August will be affected by product shortages.

Food industry experts have warned of a “beer drought” due to the strike by staff at GXO Logistics Drinks.

The company supplies 40 percent of its beer to the UK hospitality industry, according to union Unite.

Last month, Joe Clarke, Unite’s national manager for the beverage industry, said: “A beer drought could happen if our members vote for industrial action because they make 40% of beer deliveries. in the country.

“This disruption would add to the ‘pingemia’ that is already hitting the area.”

This week, Mr. Clarke confirmed that the strike would continue, adding: “Now industrial action looms for the end of August, we again call on the company to engage in meaningful negotiations over a decent pay raise for the company. our members. “

A GXO spokesperson commented: “We favor dialogue in all of our negotiations. Discussions are underway to reach a deal, especially for the hospitality sector which is only now emerging from the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown.


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