The latest Xbox and PlayStation games consoles are just some of the products in short supply ahead of this year’s Christmas period
People in the UK may struggle to get their orders delivered in time for Christmas this year, with a shipping boss warning of chaos at Britain’s biggest port, that is “getting worse” and is leading to a “very challenging” Christmas period.
Pre-Brexit stockpiling, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a backlog of around 11,000 containers of Personal Protective Equipment currently at Suffolk’s Felixstowe port have been blamed as the catalyst for these long delays that are preventing retailers from receiving stock in the run-up to Christmas.
This comes after EasyJet has revealed its first annual loss in its 25-year history as a company of £1.27bn, a result of the coronavirus crisis turbulence that has grounded airline companies globally.
The managing director of policy for the Road Haulage Association, Rod McKenzie, said that the PPE backlog and the impact of shops closing, as well as increased demand for online classes, had put increased pressure on what would already be the busiest time of the year for the UK’s shipping and haulage industries.
He said that the knock-on effect means that people throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland won’t receive their Christmas gifts in time, particularly if shops remain closed past the end of England’s lockdown on the 2nd of December.
He said to Sky News:
“This is the busiest time of year for the haulage industry and the world of home delivery, even before COVID and lockdown,”
“But it will be particularly crazy this year because of the pandemic and what’s happening at Felixstowe. are coming on a shipping container from abroad and it is delayed [because there is no space in the port], it is possible you are not going to have it for Christmas.”
He warned that consumers in the UK should be ordering now if they want to ensure their Christmas gifts arrive in time, adding: “[The situation] is getting worse. Even if lockdown ends on 2 December and Felixstowe is cleared, we will still have a challenging Christmas.”
“There are 11,000 containers of PPE shipped in from China just sitting up at the quayside,” he said. “Lots of things are stuck on ships that can’t unload and lorries can’t pick up. The whole system deteriorates.”
Mr McKenzie said the situation may worsen when the Brexit transition period passes at the end of the year, warning: “And January… it’s not a pretty picture. We are all very interconnected.”
This comes after a report that had been commissioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has said that the Treasury could potentially raise £14bn by increasing the country’s capital gains tax rates in order to bring them in line with the UK’s income tax.
A statement from the port said: “We continue to work closely with our customers and other stakeholders to tackle the impact of current global supply chain pressures on the flow of goods through UK ports.
“Global supply chains remain under pressure but we have a plan to address the specific issues at Felixstowe.
“We are increasing the level of resource available, developing additional storage capacity and working with customers and partners to remove long stay containers as quickly as possible to reduce congestion.
“We are grateful to our employees at the Port of Felixstowe, who continue to work extremely hard in difficult circumstances, as they have throughout the COVID pandemic, to serve our customers and deliver for the UK.”