A government minister has tried to downplay fears that the supply chain crisis will lead to Christmas bottlenecks and insists that the situation will “improve”.
Keep talking Sky newsConservative Party leader Oliver Dowden said he was “confident people can get their toys for Christmas”.
His remarks came after the Maersk shipping company had diverted ships from Felixstowe, the UK’s largest trading port, and he cited a backlog of containers as the reason for this.
READ MORE: All the must-have items that could be in short supply for Christmas 2021
Will there be bottlenecks at Christmas?
The UK government insists there is no need to panic ahead of the all-important Christmas shopping season.
Oliver Dowden advised consumers to “just buy as usual”.
Associated British Ports, which operates 21 ports across the UK, has announced that all of its locations are currently operating normally.
But dwell times – waiting before a container is picked up – have doubled in Felixstowe in the past two weeks to almost 10 days, says the British International Freight Association.
What is causing the bottlenecks?
While there are currently a number of labor shortages and supply chain problems, some of them are global in origin and are not just a UK problem.
For example, the global shortage of computer chips is reportedly hindering the production of some devices, including the PlayStation 5 and iPhone 13.
However, the ongoing shortage of truck drivers in the UK – estimated between 90,000 and 100,000 – has put additional pressure on domestic supply chains.
Elsewhere, British poultry farmers struggled to recruit workers after non-British workers drove out of the country in droves due to Brexit. This has forced them to cut turkey production by 500,000 to 750,000 – about a fifth.
Pig farmers are also understaffed, forcing some to start culling and burning their animals. About 120,000 could be killed, disrupting the supply of pigs and blankets.
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