The supply chain crisis at Britain’s biggest commercial shipping port is “resolving”, according to a government minister, despite retailers warning shoppers to shop early for Christmas.
This came as a major global shipping company moved ships away from Felixstow and other ports in Europe, citing a backlog of containers in the UK.
Maersk’s decision prompted fears of delays in delivery as consumers start buying items for Christmas.
Conservative Party co-chair Oliver Dowden insisted that the government is “working through these challenges” amid the build-up of cargo at UK ports.
He told Sky News: “The situation is improving. I’m sure people will be able to get their toys for Christmas.
“Some people buy too early for Christmas – my wife is a fairly early Christmas buyer – others buy later. I would say buy as you normally would.”
However, the issue of backlog building up at ports has led some retailers to warn of a potential shortage this winter.
Gary Grant, who runs toy store The Entertainer, warned that it would be difficult to ensure stock on shelves nationwide.
“There will never be toy shops without toys,” he said.
“All would be toy shops without the toys they would normally expect to be due to shortages, and that’s largely down to transportation and warehousing issues rather than a shortage of toys.”
He said he expects Barbie dolls and Paw Patrol toys to be one of children’s favorite toys, which is likely to die out fast.
Robert Glidden, owner of Glydon’s Toy Shop in Sidmouth, Devon, urged consumers to “buy now” to avoid the Christmas gloom, amid fears that supply chain problems would result in high prices and empty shelves.
He added: “It’s not just a shortage – you have to face the reality of a 10% to 15% increase in prices on anything from across the ocean.”
He advised consumers: “If you see it, buy it, and be prepared to pay more before Christmas.”
Mr Glidden said his shop is currently well stocked as a result of heavy orders over the past two months in anticipation of supply issues ahead of Christmas, when demand is highest.
Meanwhile, UK Major Ports Group chief executive Tim Morris told the PA news agency: “Our view would be that there is no need to panic. Global supply chains are very busy, but they are quite strong.
“There will be some volatility in the short term, but the retailers, their suppliers, all the logistics companies that work between the manufacturing and sales side, will work really hard to keep the supply going.”
The UK port industry has also warned that some ports are managing access to storage space with “short-term restrictions” to reduce congestion issues.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “The overcrowding at the port of Felixstow is another unwanted side effect of the HGV driver shortage.
“Since cargo cannot be removed rapidly, there is a backlog of containers at ports preventing new vessels from docking and unloading.”
PA. Additional reporting by
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /