Start buying your Christmas presents now! Warning that toys and goods can be stuck in port traffic jams

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Families have been warned to start shopping for Christmas now, fearing the supply of toys, electrical appliances and other goods will be disrupted by traffic jams at UK ports.

Retail executives say the shortage of truck drivers to haul loads from docks around the coast threatens the festivities and the economy in general.

Shipping giant Maersk has diverted some large ships from Felixstowe – the country’s largest container port – to alternatives on the continent such as Antwerp and Rotterdam.

It is hoped that the containers will then be transferred to smaller vessels which should have an easier time mooring at smaller UK docks.

Meanwhile, supermarkets have attempted to fill empty shelves with products they have in stock, with a Tesco Extra in Cardiff placing dozens of bottles of sunflower oil near a frozen shelf.

It is reported that buyers in Britain are already struggling to get their hands on freebies

The PlayStation 5s that were on display but out of stock in Kingston, west London on Wednesday

The PlayStation 5s that were on display but out of stock in Kingston, west London on Wednesday

Parents urged to stock up on toys early, fearing goods will be stranded in ports

Parents urged to stock up on toys early, fearing goods will be stranded in ports

“Britain’s Christmas hinges on a transfer of goods from Dunkirk from Europe to smaller ships bound for UK ports,” said David Jinks, of parcel delivery company ParcelHero.

“It seems like the only way to bring home a lot of Christmas presents. “

Some companies are reluctant to leave shelves bare, filling fruit and vegetable aisles with festive items like Quality Street and Celebrations.

An industry source told The Sun: “Retailers know there is some tension in the air and don’t want to see panic buying.”

Peter Wilson, of the Cory Brothers shipping agency, said the UK had “a major nip around heavy truck drivers and the demand on them to move cargo from ports”.

The problems affect deliveries of kitchen appliances, electrical appliances, toys, clothing and Christmas products, he added.

He insisted the supply chain will not fail, but said consumers of BBC Radio 4’s Today program should “be reasonable, think ahead, plan appropriately, and order your products from. Christmas and the items you need in a timely manner to make sure you get them ”.

Andrew Opie of the British Retail Consortium said: “Congestion in Felixstowe is another unwanted side effect of the shortage of truck drivers.

“Because cargo cannot be removed quickly enough, there is a backlog of containers in ports preventing new ships from docking and unloading.

“Retailers are working with suppliers to alleviate problems, including finding alternative routes to bring goods into the country, but further disruption may be inevitable.”

Elf on the Shelf supplies may also be affected, with one million toys kept in China ahead of shipment (file photo)

Elf on the Shelf supplies may also be affected, with one million toys kept in China ahead of shipment (file photo)

People buy toys in Kingston, London.  Gary Grant of toy giant The Entertainer said Barbie dolls and Paw Patrol toys are

People buy toys in Kingston, London. Gary Grant, of toy giant The Entertainer, said Barbie dolls and Paw Patrol toys are “prime candidates for being short during the Christmas season.”

Retail executives say the shortage of truck drivers to haul loads from docks around the coast threatens the festivities and the economy in general.  Pictured: People shop for toys in London

Retail executives say the shortage of truck drivers to haul loads from docks around the coast threatens the festivities and the economy in general. Pictured: People shop for toys in London

The British Toy and Hobby Association said: “We expect a continued disruption in delivery schedules… over the coming months.

“There are currently plenty of toys to choose from, but like advice from other industries, it’s safe to buy early – especially if you’re buying for a Christmas or birthday present. ”

Gary Grant of toy giant The Entertainer said yesterday that Barbie dolls and Paw Patrol toys are “prime candidates for being short during the Christmas season.”

Supplies from Elf on the Shelf could also be affected, with one million toys kept in China before they are shipped.

Mr Grant told BBC News: “There will never be toy stores without toys. There will be toy stores without all the toys they would normally expect.

“This is largely due to transportation and warehouse issues, rather than a shortage of toys.”

Thousands of shipping containers at Felixstowe in Suffolk, as shipping giant Maersk hijacks ships for unloading elsewhere in Europe

Thousands of shipping containers at Felixstowe in Suffolk, as shipping giant Maersk hijacks ships for unloading elsewhere in Europe

Alex Hersham, of freight forwarding company Zencargo, used by brands such as Vivienne Westwood, Swoon Furniture and Soho Home, said: “Some containers stayed in Felixstowe for double the usual time – between ten and 20 days. – pushing the port towards capacity.

“With Felixstowe handling almost 40% of all containers to and from the UK, this adds even more imbalance to the UK supply chain.”

But Tim Morris of the UK Major Ports Group said: “There is no need to panic. Global supply chains are very busy, but they are robust.

“There will be short-term fluctuations, but retailers, their suppliers, all of the logistics companies that work between manufacturing and sales will work hard to maintain supply.”

Conservative Party co-chair Oliver Dowden insisted the government “is overcoming these challenges”, for example by increasing training places for heavy truck drivers.

Asked about Christmas, he said: “I have no doubts that people will be able to get their toys for Christmas. Some buy very early for Christmas… others buy later. I would say just buy as usual.

Desperate steel, chemicals and glass factories plead for tax breaks on soaring energy bills as Boris prepares to sign hundreds of millions of pounds in loans

Desperate steel, chemicals and glass factories pleaded today for tax breaks to help them cope with soaring energy bills – as Boris Johnson prepares to sign hundreds of millions of books ready to keep them afloat.

Energy-intensive companies have insisted that cutting taxes and levies was more important than a bailout, after an extraordinary row in Whitehall.

Mr Johnson appears to have sided with Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng following his row with Chancellor Rishi Sunak over the need for government support.

A package is now due in a few days, but rather than handouts or a cap on industrial energy prices, it should come in the form of loans.

It is understood that the support will also come with “conditions attached”, ensuring that companies cannot pay out big bonuses while they are benefiting from it.

The move could raise fears that the government is just kicking the box, as companies will have to reimburse costs later when energy prices stabilize.

The Treasury was reportedly alarmed at the prospect of handing out more money, warning that “demands just increase” when sectors know the chancellor is involved in the process.


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