UK faces Christmas alcohol shortages due to supply chain chaos, government warned

The UK faces a Xmas alcohol shortage while supermarkets are forced to ‘cut back’ the range of other products they stock due to a major disruption in the UK supply chains, warned industry executives.

Alcohol suppliers have warned that some varieties wine and spirits may not be available unless urgent action is taken to deal with a shortage of truck drivers.

The Wine and Spirits Trade Association said it has received “several reports” from its members that importing products is now taking up to five times longer than normal.

“Companies that were previously able to fill orders in two to three days now experience shipments taking 15 days to process,” a group of 48 companies represented by the WSTA said in a letter to Grant Shapps, the secretary of transport.

“Costs have increased by around 7% (and often more) by freight forwarders to account for driver retention. “

Soaring costs are “of particular concern” to small businesses that cannot compete with large companies for attracting drivers, the WSTA said.

Logistics officials told MPs on Wednesday that retailers have had to cut back on the number of different items they sell to ensure essentials and holiday favorites are in stock.

Shane Brennan, managing director of the Cold Chain Federation, a trade body representing temperature-controlled logistics companies, said global shipping lanes are going through an “unprecedented period of stress” and “all shipping containers are in the wrong place. “.

Companies are now trying to offer what is ‘achievable’ to XmasMr. Brennan told the House of Commons Transport Committee.

“It’s not about scarcity, it’s about simplifying. Having less range is obviously one of the key decisions you can make in trying to make supply chains more efficient.

“And it’s about reducing the amount of merchandise you’re supposed to put on the shelves, and then working with customers to make it clear.

“We are very good at stacking high and selling cheaply at Christmas.

“What we need to do is strategically reduce that in order to keep the promise that there will be the things you expect to see on the shelves, but not necessarily all the extras.”

MEPs were also warned of further disruption at the borders from January 1, when imports of goods from the EU are expected to be subject to checks.

“The level of readiness for January 1 is concerning,” Brennan said.

Duncan Buchanan, policy director of the Road Haulage Association, called on the government to negotiate the interpretation of the rules allowing for checks to be carried out while truck drivers remain in their cabs.

Mr Buchanan also called media reports that the RHA triggered the panic buying of gasoline last month as “nonsense on stilts.”

The Daily mail had reported that Rod Mackenzie of the RHA may have leaked information showing that fuel supplies were depleted.

“The RHA did not cause the oil crisis,” Buchanan said.

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