MPs warn that supply chain problems may mean consumers could have fewer choices for Christmas.
Shane Brennan of the Cold Chain Federation said that suppliers had reduced their delivery plans in an effort to meet customer demands.
Cold Chain Federation includes firms that store and distribute chilled or frozen foods.
Brennan explained that “it’s all about reducing how many goods you are expected to place on the shelves.”
The comments were made Wednesday morning by him to the Transport Select Committee inquiry on the road freight supply chain.
“We are good at selling Christmas stuff cheaply and piling high,” he stated.
“We are having to strategise that this is done to make sure that the product you want will actually be on shelves. But not all of it.”
Brennan claimed that members had not been able to predict the future for the past two decades. Brennan also stated that it was the hardest period of their lives.
Supply chain faces many challenges, like drivers leaving the field and problems recruiting new employees, border issues, and delays in the shipping of containers.
According to Mr Brennan, global shipping supplies are experiencing “unprecedented stress”
It took him two to three business days for fresh food to arrive in UK ports and be delivered to his stores. This would ordinarily happen within the same day.
Frozen food has seen a significant increase in time from one to three to maximum five or six days.
Brennan explained that the company is seeing “significant changes”, and was forced to redeploy on that basis.
Ian Wright (Food and Drink Federation) was the chief of FDF and warned that the UK would face permanent food insecurity.
He explained that “the UK consumer and shopper could have expected almost any product on the market in the past.” [supermarket]All the time, in the kitchen or on the shelf
“That’s over. It’s over.
FDF reports that there are approximately half a billion workers working in food and drinks, or about one out of eight total employees. This leads to problems with supply chains.
Many companies, such as supermarkets, restaurants, and pubs have claimed that a shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV), lorry drivers is causing supply chain problems, which includes shortages of certain products.
The shortage of truck drivers has been caused by EU workers moving to the UK after Brexit, as well as tax changes that made it more costly for European drivers to live in the UK.
Elizabeth de Jong (Director of Policy at Logistics UK), highlighted the importance of lorry parking as an obstacle to people driving.
The Transport Select Committee was informed by her that for many years there has been ample evidence of a shortage in parking spots. People have to park their cars at the side of the road, or even on industrial estates without any hygiene facilities.
Duncan Buchanan (Policy Director at Road Haulage Association) told the Committee that although many people love lorry driving it, often the circumstances are what made them want to leave.
Buchanan said that there has been a decrease in the number of lorry drivers.
We are seeing an increase in throughput during tests. Tests were suspended. There has been an increase in test takers and passers since April.
According to our estimates, the shortage may have fallen by around 15,000,000. This is largely due to improved test performance, retention and other factors. When you think about the driver shortage these are estimates that are based on intelligence. Hard numbers can be difficult.
We estimate that 15,000. “But our estimate is we’ve come back 15,000. That’s a substantial amount, and it took us over six months.”
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