LONDON The food shortages and production disruption on Monday will continue if France continues to block cargo and people traveling from the UK in an effort to stem the spread of a new strain of the corona virus.
Move Bar entry from the UK., Announced by Paris late on Sunday, cutting off Britain’s main cargo link to Europe and halting trade between ports such as Dover and Calais, which handle 10,000 lorries a day.
The travel ban, originally set at 48 hours, was lifted by a number of countries, including Germany, Canada and Denmark, as UK authorities imposed a new ban. A more contagious strain of the corona virus This was due to the increase in cases in London and the southeastern UK.
Against the spread, authorities in the UK imposed new restrictions on the most affected areas over the weekend, while reducing plans to ease measures for the Christmas period across the country.
Already, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium have confirmed a small number of cases of the new corona virus strain, known as N501Y, which scientists believe could spread 70% more than the established strain.
Officials from European countries met on Monday to discuss how to respond, while the British government was due to hold an emergency meeting amid concerns about shortages in some stores.
Concerns about the impact of the new corona virus strain, as well as uncertainty over whether the UK and the EU will agree to a post-Brexit trade deal, weighed on the British pound on Monday. The sterling fell 1.8% against the dollar and 1.1% against the euro, falling to 2.2% against the greenback, one of its biggest falls since March.
Various countries have imposed some restrictions on travel from the UK and elsewhere during epidemics – such as compulsory isolation – and cargo was always allowed to move freely in and out of the UK, until Sunday evening.
Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Beverage Federation of the British Chamber of Commerce, said travel suspensions “have the potential to severely disrupt new food deliveries in the UK Christmas.” “Continental trucks would not want to travel here if there was a real fear of being marooned.”
Jay Sainsbury PLC, the UK’s second largest grocery chain, said if a solution could not be reached, there could be a shortage of lettuce, some vegetables and citrus fruits in the coming days.
Following France’s move on Sunday, the port of Dover has asked cargo and passenger customers not to travel to its terminals in Britain’s busiest locations. Dover is responsible for moving 20% of total cargo between the UK and continental Europe.
The British government warned of significant disruption, while the British media showed footage of long wallbacks heading south to English ports.
Eurotonal, which operates the railway tunnel connecting Britain and France, has suspended all freight and passenger services.
Mike Seller, a truck driver from Kent, England, was on his way to pick up rice cakes from Brussels on Monday night when he hopes he will not make another trip now after Christmas.
“It’s a complete joke,” he said.
However, some companies, especially in the food and beverage sector – said they had already felt the impact of the French move, with their products going extinct.
“This is a disaster … trucks loaded with millions of pounds [of shellfish] He is heading for Dover right now, ”tweeted Loch Fine Seafarms Ltd, a Scottish seafood company, following the ban.
Delays in ports can have major consequences beyond grocery chains and food items. While many manufacturers have stockpiles of disruptive components for short periods of time, some businesses call them mere time distribution chains, where the arrival of parts is closely coordinated with the assembly.
It includes block car makers on both sides of the channel.
Toyota Motor Corp., for example, used to have only four-hour parts at its UK car plant, and relies on 50 trucks to enter the UK every day to build its cars. The company has previously told lawmakers that a three-week strike by French boat crews in 2015 disrupted Toyota’s distribution for two months.
Many manufacturers have stockpiles, but the current disruption is a major concern as supply chains are highly integrated with the rest of Europe, said Jack Semble, engineer for the UK Chamber of Commerce and secretary of the Mechanical Alliance.
“If people think it’s going to last more than 48 hours, that anxiety will increase quickly,” he said.
The disruption comes as British ports are already tricked into stockpiling ahead of Christmas and the UK’s exit from EU customs on January 1.
Truck driver Mr. Cellar said it took him four hours to leave Dover on Friday and another eight hours to pack his truck to return to England from Colossae.
According to a British Hollair poll released Monday by the Howlage Exchange, which is compatible with freight and drivers, 96% of listeners said they were not ready for a change and needed more clarity on what the border law would be. The UK and the EU are currently negotiating a possible trade deal, but the outcome is uncertain.
Write Alistair McDonald at [email protected]
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