Shoppers warned of summer products shortages this summer – COVID and Suez Canal to blame


    Some companies are finding it difficult to secure garden furniture, picnic baskets, and outdoor toys, according to new research. This news comes ahead of a summer where most Britons will be staying at home, and therefore demand for these items will be high.

    Around 60 percent British suppliers have experienced import delays in the past month, according to customs clearance platform KlearNow.

    There are a number of factors to blame.

    One of these is the Suez Canal blockage back in March, when a container ship got stuck in the canal for six days, impacting global trade.

    The coronavirus pandemic, which includes both global restrictions and India’s health crisis, is another major cause of the disruptions to trade.

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    Sam Tyagi, KlearNow’s chief executive, added that there is also a shortage of packaging materials, which is contributing to the shortage of summer products.

    KlearNow based its findings on interviews with 300 import-export businesses based in the UK.

    Mr Tyagi said: “A combination of Covid-19 restrictions, the backlog from the Suez Canal blockage, increasing global demand for shipping containers, disruption to shipping caused by India’s public health crisis and a shortage of packaging materials means UK businesses are already struggling to meet summer demand.

    “With competition for container space so high, some smaller businesses are simply being priced out of landing the goods and materials that they need.”

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    The changes to the UK travel traffic light system last week confirmed that many Britons will be staying at home this summer.

    The Government have tightened rules on international travel and moved Portugal from the green list to the amber list.

    Due to these updates, it is likely there will be an increasing demand for summer products in the coming weeks and families prepare to spend the summer in Britain.

    However, some British companies have been waiting for summer products to arrive since last year.

    Heather Attwooll, owner of camping and outdoor equipment retailer Attwoolls, is still waiting on orders placed in October.

    Ms Attwooll’s company is still being affected by the Suez Canal blockage as nine containers of her products are stuck in Egypt.

    The entrepreneur told the BBC: “The early May bank holiday was the busiest bank holiday we’ve ever experienced.

    “But there is a risk that small businesses like ours will soon be unable to meet that demand due to supply chain problems out of our control. All of the garden furniture we normally source from China was bought up by Walmart, for example.”

    Retailers like Attwoolls will also have to compete with other types of businesses such as hotels and restaurants for camping equipment.

    Retail expert Kate Hardcastle told The Sun: “Campers and caravaners have got competition from restaurants and hotels for outdoor equipment.

    “The demand is so high, not just because of a shortage in supply, but also because things are being repurposed in very different ways.”

    Even supermarkets are struggling with import delays, with Aldi announcing just this week that its most recent batch of Specialbuys will take longer to arrive this month.

    A statement on the Aldi website reads: “Due to current disruptions to global shopping, a number of Specialbuys may be delayed.

    “We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

    “We’re doing all we can to provide clarity on expected availability dates, but these are subject to change.”


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