The UK faces a Christmas booze shortage while supermarkets are being forced to “scale back” the range of other goods they stock due to major disruption to UK supply chains, industry leaders have warned.
Alcohol suppliers warned that some varieties wine and spirits may not be available unless urgent action is taken to deal with a lorry driver shortage.
The Wine and Spirits Trade Association said it had received “multiple reports” from its members that importing products is now taking up to five times longer than normal.
“Businesses who had previously been able to fulfil orders in two to three days are now experiencing shipments taking 15 days to process,” a group of 48 companies represented by the WSTA said in a letter to Grant Shapps, the transport secretary.
“Costs have increased around 7 per cent (and often more) by freight forwarders to account for driver retention.”
Surging costs are “particularly a concern” for smaller businesses who can’t compete with large firms to attract drivers, the WSTA said.
Logistics bosses told MPs on Wednesday that retailers have had to cut back the number of different items they sell to make sure that essential goods and festive favourites are in stock.
Shane Brennan, chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation, a trade body representing temperature-controlled logistics business, said global shipping lanes were in an “unprecedented period of stress” and that “all of the shipping containers are in the wrong place”.