Dozens of countries in Europe and around the world have suspended flights from the United Kingdom, and the French government has announced a 48-hour ban on trucks using ferry and rail tracks from the UK to France following allegations of a highly contagious corona virus mutation.
“If nothing changes, we’ll start to see gaps in the coming days in lettuce, salad leaves, cauliflowers, broccoli, citrus fruits – all of which are imported from the EU this year,” Sainsbury said in a statement. “We believe in England and the French [governments] May come to a solution that prioritizes immediate production and shipment of food. “
Prime Minister Boris Johnson sought to assert public fears at a press conference on Monday, saying he had spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron and that both sides were working towards a speedy resolution.
He stressed that British supermarket supply chains are “strong and robust” and that “most food and pharmaceuticals are coming back to normal.”
The industry, which operates frozen and refrigerated storage facilities and temperature-controlled vehicles, said there was no reason for shoppers to panic as the UK food supply chain was well stocked for the maximum holiday period.
“As we learned in March, the biggest reason products run on shelves is unnecessary and over-purchasing,” said Shane Brennan, chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation. “We ask everyone to do their part and buy only what they really need.”
January can be bad
But “urgent agreements” were needed between the UK and EU governments to avoid problems in the new year. “The prolongation of the now-defunct movement will cause significant problems for supply chains in January,” Brennan added.
That sentiment was echoed by the British Retail Federation, which represents more than 170 large retailers and thousands of small businesses.
“Retailers are stockpiling goods just before Christmas, which should prevent immediate problems,” said Andrew Oppy, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Association. “However, the long closure of the French border will be a problem as the UK enters the final weeks. [Brexit] Change is complete [Dec. 31]. “
UK ports were already in serious crisis before the new Corona virus variant sparked chaos on the border.
The UK withdrew from the EU earlier this year, but continues to enjoy free trade with the EU market, which has a population of 450 million, under interim arrangements expiring on December 31. Talks about a new agreement to avoid fees and quotas in half of the UK. With foreign trade paralyzed over the weekend, the risk of Brexit ending without a trade deal is high.
Dover holds about 17% of the UK merchandise trade. It handled 2.4 million trucks in 2019 and passed through the nearby Eurodonal under the 1.6 million channel.
Traders are increasingly concerned that a Brexit deal will not work, and they are betting on getting goods into the country by the end of the year. The new customs checks and paperwork will cause significant delays in exports, while fees and quotas will accumulate pain in the “non-contractual” situation.
Toyota covers plants
The agency blamed UK traffic restrictions on developing countries and “uncertainty over how long the borders will be closed for logistics operations.”
France said on Monday it wanted a new European-level healthcare protocol that would allow cross-border traffic to resume, while British traders called for the testing of truck drivers for the Covit-19 to restore confidence.
“We have our drivers who do not want to go to the UK for fear of not being able to come back because the borders are closed,” said Vanessa Iberlusia, a spokeswoman for the French National Road Haulez Federation. “This is going to cause a problem with stoppage flows, so the supply will dry up across the channel before Brexit day.”
– Reported by Robert North, Pamela Boykoff, Hannah Giadi, Sarah Dean, Funny Babil, Funny Wang and Stephanie Halas.