Millions of Britons have been urged to order gifts for Christmas now to avoid disappointment because of delays at Britain’s choked ports where containers are piled high and ships are being diverted away due to a lack of HGV drivers.
Experts have warned the crisis won’t be solved until well into 2022 and will lead to gaps on shelves throughout the festive season with shipping boss Peter Wilson advising people to purchase their goods for the festive season promptly.
The most popular toys, games consoles, smartphones, white goods as well as chocolate and even Christmas trees are predicted to be in short supply this December with one shipping boss stating that they didn’t want to sound like a Grinch but there were going to be gaps on shelves this Christmas.
Britain’s busiest container port, Felixstowe, has become seriously overcrowded to the point that Maersk, the world’s biggest container shipping company, is diverting its large vessels away from the United Kingdom to Rotterdam because the dockside is full and there aren’t enough truck drivers to pick up and transport fully loaded containers and return the empty ones.
Containers at the Suffolk port are taking up to ten days to be put on to trucks instead of the normal three days, while large ships are having to wait up to a week after arriving off the UK coast to dock and unload.
Peter Wilson, managing director at Cory Brothers shipping agency, said problems affecting shipping and transport was a global problem but added the United Kingdom had a significant pinch point around HGV drivers and the demand on them to move goods from the ports.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that it was a significant problem for the United Kingdom, and asked if it will affect Christmas, he said it had the potential but emphasised that the supply chain would not fail in the United Kingdom, adding that customers should be sensible and think ahead, plan properly, and order Christmas good and items that they want promptly to ensure that they have them.
Mr Wilson said it was a potential that some items might not be available nearer to Christmas, and when asked what items were most at risk of that, he said that it was a real mix and that they import so much into the United Kingdom by container on shipping lines, so it’s from white goods to Christmas toys, and that included food goods with this as well, so it could be a real mixed bag of all items.
The secret to purchasing online is to look at the item location before buying because anything that suggests several weeks to arrive is likely to come by boat, and it doesn’t take too much brainpower to figure that one out.
And whether this is to do with Brexit or not, we need to stop bleating on about it continually and find a solution and crack on, or go without – think of the money we will all save.
Or is this just another attempt to get people panic buying again? And I do hope that people remember that Santa isn’t real.
Parents should be spending time with their kids and families at Christmas instead of making it all about the presents. Lots of food, Christmas music and being silly, that’s the spirit of Christmas.
And it seems that COVID and petrol fears have run their course, now it’s time for something new.
What we should be doing is getting back to the true meaning of Christmas, with less commercialisation, which wouldn’t be a bad thing – charity shops are chock-full of toys and games et cetera.