Staycationers warned of summer products shortage after supply chain issues

Monday, 7th June 2021, 10:32 am

Tents, picnic baskets and garden toys are taking a hit due to supply shortages as Brits head for their holidays in the UK, experts have warned.

Around 60% of UK-based suppliers have seen import delays in the past month, according to customs clearance platform KlearNow.

It comes as families are told to avoid foreign holidays with the removal of Portugal from the UK Government’s green list and no further countries added.

‘Small firms priced out’

Sam Tyagi said UK importers are waiting on goods that were due to arrive in the UK weeks ago, but that are still on container ships in completely the wrong parts of the world.

Brexit paperwork delays and the recent lockdowns are also playing a significant role, according to suppliers.

Mr Tyagi: “A combination of Covid 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.”

Suez Canal backlog

The chief said smaller retailers are struggling the most and may miss out on the opportunity to win back much-needed business lost during the pandemic.

Camping equipment has seen a boom as holidaymakers plan staycations but with much of it made in China, delays on the Suez Canal remain due to the backlog from a recent ship being stuck there.

Similarly, garden furniture and toys also arrive from China and are facing the same delays.

Raw materials are already seeing record levels of inflation and the closure of the hospitality sector for several months is playing a part, Mr Tyagi said.

He explained: “Street food requires disposable packaging. Without it, vendors can’t ship or serve their products.

“The irony here is that the hospitality sector shutdown is to blame for the lack of suitable street food packaging. Most packaging used for street food starts life as waste paper, most of which comes from pubs, bars and restaurants.”

Demand for camping kit

Heather Attwooll, of family-owned camping and outdoor equipment retailer Attwoolls, is still waiting on orders placed in October and has nine containers of outdoor clothing, camping gear and hiking equipment stuck in Egypt as a result of the Suez Canal blockage.

She said: “The early May bank holiday was the busiest bank holiday we’ve ever experienced. Demand for camping and outdoor equipment is clearly there.

“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.”

Extra paperwork caused by Brexit is also playing its part on delays.