No bubbles for the English. People in the UK risk not having bottles of Champagne at their table for the holiday season. In a statement released Wednesday, the industry association WSTA, explains that “rising costs and chaos in the supply chain are delaying deliveries of wines and spirits” and that imports are currently taking “up to five times more time than a year ago ”.

In a letter signed by 49 companies in the sector, including the local branches of Moët Hennessy and Pernod Ricard, the wine and spirits association calls on Transport Minister Grant Shapps to “take urgent measures” to avoid empty shelves “before the Christmas time “.

The shipping time sometimes multiplied by seven

Orders that were once shipped in two to three days “now experience processing times of 15 days” and the costs of carriers “have increased by about 7%”, continues the association, while the drivers, courted by transport companies, see their salaries increase.

The country is facing a supply chain crisis fueled in particular by a lack of truck drivers. The problem is not specific to the United Kingdom, driven by the recovery in global activity, but it is amplified by Brexit which makes it difficult for European workers to return.

Saturated British ports

The government has already announced several measures to try to solve the shortage of truck drivers, such as accelerating the training of drivers or the establishment of temporary work visas for the sector.

But the government must go further “to ensure that British companies do not work with a hand tied behind their back during the holiday season, and beyond”, insists Miles Beale, chief executive of WSTA, quoted in the communicated. The association asks in particular the Minister of Transport to extend the temporary visa program, which should in principle end on February 28, or to facilitate the delivery of goods from British ports, which are currently saturated.


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