Food that could be affected by the French travel ban
Industry insiders warned that there are several products that are at greatest risk of shortages.
This is because these products are usually imported from the continent at this time of year.
- Lettuce leaves
- Citrus fruit
Shellfish suppliers also warned their products could run short.
They said the perishable products were stranded when the French border closed.
Shoppers were queuing in supermarkets at 5:50 this morning as people rushed to buy groceries before Christmas, under the French ban on British freight forwarders.
The country closed its borders to British travelers at 11 p.m. last night as large parts of the country went into Tier 4 lockdown as the mutated Covid strain spread across parts of London and the south east.
Industry insiders warned France’s coronavirus ban on British trucks could deter hauliers from delivering essential festive groceries.
Some of the items most at risk of shortages include lettuce leaves, citrus fruits, broccoli and cauliflower, which are typically imported from the continent at this time of year, industry experts say.
There were also concerns that perishable goods could rot in waiting trucks as the chaos at the border resulted in more truck queues.
Countries such as France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Austria, Denmark, Ireland and Bulgaria announced travel restrictions to the UK yesterday following the outbreak of the new strain in south-east England.
Countries reacted after Mr Johnson announced on Saturday that the new variant was up to 70 percent more transmissible than the original strain as he put London and parts of the southeast and east of England on a two-week Christmas lockdown with nearly 18 million people in a new one Tier 4.
Hong Kong is also said to ban all flights from the UK from midnight, making it the first city in Asia to do so. Asian nations, including Japan and South Korea, said they will be closely monitoring the new strain.
Sainsbury’s has warned that some products may be missing from shelves due to restrictions in ports, but the food for a traditional Christmas dinner is already in the country.
A spokesman for the supermarket giant said: “All the products for the Great British Christmas Lunch are already in the country and we have a lot of them.
‘We also source everything we can from the UK and are looking for alternative means of transport for products from Europe.
This buyer began to line up in front of a supermarket where a number of people were already waiting at 5:50 a.m.
Long queues formed outside that Waitrose supermarket in Henleaze near Brisol this morning as people tried to stock up on festive supplies. This picture was posted on Twitter with the caption, “This is Christmas, Queuing for a Turkey”.
People brave the rain at the Waitrose store in Henleaze at 7:37 a.m. to stand in line and do their shopping earlier than usual before Christmas
Shoppers in Sainsburys supermarket in north London buy festive groceries before 8 a.m. just four days before Christmas amid a French ban on UK freight forwarders
The shelves at this Sainsbury’s shop looked heavy this morning as long lines of shoppers lined up in supermarkets across the UK fearing the French travel ban could put a strain on grocery chains
This morning shoppers were seen in north London waiting for their turn to shop as the queues grew as the hours went on
Aldi and Waitrose supermarkets also had queues of shoppers today, and people posted pictures of the chaos on social media
That person in the southeast also saw long lines at the supermarket today after the Tier 4 Covid restrictions went into effect across much of the UK on Saturday night
The French borders were closed this morning after a 48-hour travel ban went into effect at 11 p.m. yesterday evening when a mutant strain of the Covid virus spread to south-east England
“Stay at home” signs were sent to drivers on the M27 motorway near Portsmouth, Hampshire, which was rated Tier 4 on Saturday night
“If nothing changes, we will see gaps in lettuce, some lettuce leaves, cauliflower, broccoli and citrus fruits in the coming days, all of which are imported from the continent at this time of year.
“We hope that the British and French governments can come to an amicable solution that prioritizes the immediate transfer of produce and other food in ports.”
Mussel producers in Scotland also said they stranded tons of perishable products on roads when the French border closed. A disruption in the UK will also affect deliveries to Ireland.
It comes as:
- The Food and Drink Federation warned of “serious disruption to UK fresh food supplies and exports this Christmas”.
- Sainsbury’s warning lettuce leaves, broccoli, cauliflower and citrus fruits were most at risk of shortages in the run-up to Christmas, as goods are usually imported from the continent at this time of year.
- Italy said the mutant strain was discovered in a traveler who had recently returned to the country from the UK.
- The UK retail consortium warned that closing France to UK traffic would create “trouble” for UK trade.
- Nicola Sturgeon said it was “imperative” that the UK government seek an extension of the Brexit transition period.
- Ireland has put a 48-hour ban on flights from the UK, while ferries would only be limited to cargo.
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted the new Tier 4 restrictions may have to stay in place for months.
Ian Wright, CEO of the Food and Drink Federation, warned last night: “The suspension of escorted freight from the UK to France could seriously disrupt fresh food supplies and UK food and drink exports this Christmas.
“Continental truckers won’t want to travel here if they’re really afraid of getting stranded. The government urgently needs to convince the French government to exempt escorted cargo from its ban. ”
There are concerns that the mounting delays for freight forwarders could result in supermarket shelves running out of essential ingredients for the festive season of Christmas. It was feared that the ban and the resulting delays could also lead to the rotting of the trucks as carriers wait for supplies to be delivered.
Warnings of supermarket shortages There are also fears that a Brexit deal will not be reached before the end of the year, leading to the UK leaving the EU.
Huge queues formed this morning at the Costco store in Trafford, Manchester, worried about the pre-Christmas food shortage
The shelves in an Icelandic shop in north London were quickly empty this morning as shoppers rushed to buy festive groceries
Staples like bread were in short supply at this Icelandic supermarket in north London this morning
Before 8 a.m. there was a rush of shoppers at this Sainsbury’s store in north London with jam-packed trollies that could be seen at the checkouts
Social media users reported busy scenes in supermarkets across the UK this morning. In this Twitter post, a Waitrose store was described as “rammed”.
People got up and queued for the “fully packed” supermarkets from 7am and earlier
This shopper complained that people weren’t wearing masks when she first went to her shop this morning
Waitrose South Woodford, a suburb of London, saw their queues meander in the parking lot today as people tried to buy festive supplies
According to this Twitter user, “panic buying” was also seen today at the Waitrose store in Canary Wharf
This person had to visit a supermarket for the first time in six months because there were no online supermarket delivery spots available
The scenes in supermarkets this morning were reminiscent of hell, according to David Clater, who shared his experience on Twitter
People waited patiently in socially distant queues at this Waitrose store today for fear of the shortage of some products
This buyer was seen with a very full cart a few days before Christmas when people rushed into stores to buy festive supplies
Supplies of toilet rolls were in short supply this morning, reflecting scenes from earlier in the pandemic when panic buyers stripped the shelves of toilet paper
Detergent and products also appeared to be popular with shoppers who flocked to stores this morning
“In the supermarket queue at 5:50 am to get my hands on Blockade / Brexit Moor Roll,” a buyer posted on Twitter next to a picture of a number of people who were already in the queue.
Another posted a picture from a Waitrose store in Henleaze, south-west England, showing long lines of people winding around the parking lot in the rain. They labeled it, “And so is Christmas, in the queue for a turkey.”
Others said the lines at their local supermarket were the worst they’d seen in months.
The UK retail consortium had previously urged buyers not to clear the shelves amid concerns about a no-deal Brexit.
Earlier this month, they said retailers are “increasing their inventory of cans, toilet rolls, and other longer-lasting products to keep supplies of essential products sufficient”.
They hope to avoid repeating scenes earlier in the pandemic when panic buying resulted in empty supermarket shelves and restrictions on key items. Until now, supermarkets have restricted sales of key items such as toilet paper and staple foods such as rice, flour and pasta.
However, the French travel ban will lead to bottlenecks, according to industry experts.
The port of Dover was closed to all escorted traffic leaving the UK for the next 48 hours after France imposed an entry ban. Pictured: truck queue on the M20 in Folkestone
A person on social media who claims to be a truck driver warned of an impending “humanitarian crisis” as the travel ban has seen many hauliers queuing in ports and on highways across the UK
Operation Stack was implemented on the M20 in Kent last night – when parts of the motorway were reserved for parking trucks queuing for canal ports
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) warned that closing France to UK traffic over the busy Christmas season would create “trouble” for UK imports and exports.
Andrew Opie, the BRC’s director of nutrition and sustainability, said any “persistent” disruption in the run-up to the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31st would be a problem.
“While goods can enter from France, few freight forwarders will be willing to send trucks and drivers to the UK with no guarantee that they can get back to the EU on time,” he said.
Three main problems causing delays in UK ports
Problems in ports are caused by a number of problems that occur simultaneously and are not unique to the UK. Industry insiders say that there are three main problems behind the chaos:
COVID – Lack of shipping containers
The system for shipping goods around the world stopped working properly when the economies closed and reopened at different times when they dealt with Covid.
As a result, shipping companies fell behind when it came to fetching empty containers from European ports and bringing them back to factories in Asia.
The container shortage is exacerbated by the shortage of manpower across the global supply chain – including seafarers, shippers and warehouse workers – due to illness or quarantine.
The problems caused by Covid have been exacerbated by an increase in demand caused by:
BREXIT – Customs and storage
If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, tariffs will be applied to imported goods according to World Trade Organization rules at the end of the transition period.
Companies are therefore storing goods out of fear of having to pay customs duties or because they fear that new customs procedures after Brexit will delay imports.
Around Christmas, the demand for goods increases again and again, which exacerbates the problems.
‘This is an important supply route for fresh produce at this time of year.
‘We urge the UK Government and the EU to come up with a pragmatic solution as soon as possible to avoid disruptions for consumers.
“The retailers stocked up on goods before Christmas to avoid immediate problems.
“However, a prolonged closure of the French border would be a problem as the UK enters in the final weeks before the end of the transition on December 31st.”
The port of Dover is closed today to all freight vehicles leaving the UK for the next 48 hours. The ban will come into effect at 11:00 p.m. yesterday evening.
It is a major UK port and around 10,000 trucks pass through Dover each day, which is 20 percent of all goods brought in and sold in the UK.
Freight forwarders coming to the UK from France are still allowed to enter, but there are fears that truck drivers will not travel to avoid being “stranded” in the UK.
The Irish government also imposed a 48-hour flight ban on the UK and said ferries would only be limited to cargo.
Mr Wright added that essential supplies should be exempted from the French travel ban, which would give continent truck drivers more confidence to come to the UK as they currently fear not coming back.
But logistics companies urged people not to panic, saying that fresh products will continue to be available.
Alex Veitch, General Manager of Logistics UK added: “Buyers shouldn’t panic – retailers will make every effort to ensure that the system contains stock, including fresh products, and it is important that we remember that inbound traffic continues to have access to the UK.
‘We are in close contact with the UK Government to ensure that fresh produce is available during the Christmas and New Year seasons.
“We advise members to check with the ports before commencing their voyage and to stay in close contact with the drivers to ensure that their well-being is maintained.”
Operation Stack was implemented on the M20 in Kent last night. The system means that parts of the motorway are reserved for parking trucks queuing for canal ports. Kent Airport, which is currently closed, has also been put on standby to receive 4,000 stranded trucks.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also urged travelers and shippers to avoid the ports of Kent or other routes to France for fear of further slaughter on the streets.
Richard Burnett, head of the Road Haulage Association (RHA), told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that the government should come up with its contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit in the New Year and use the measures to control the current chaos of the travel ban.
This included the opening of the Kent truck parks prepared to accommodate large numbers of vehicles in the event that a difficult transition period ever emerges after Brexit.
A person on social media who claims to be a truck driver posted on social media that they had been in line in their truck since Friday.
He warned of an impending “humanitarian crisis” and said no toilets were available for stranded truckers.
Tube stations and main streets alike were deserted by the time London entered the first day of the Level 4 lockdown, with restrictions on travel outside the area and almost no shops allowed to stay open
London Bridge Station was unusually empty this morning after the capital came under extreme restrictions
Lots of people checked out on social media this morning to complain about the long lines in front of the supermarkets that were seen earlier today
Some brave the rain in parts of the UK to get their hands on their essential Christmas supplies
This woman speculated that the chaos might continue as the week progressed and result in more queues tomorrow
Yorkshire shoppers also looked outside supermarkets this morning as people tried to get festive supplies
Adam Tungatt kritisierte die “Panikkäufer”, die Produkte in großen Mengen kaufen, nachdem die Supermarktregale früher in der Pandemie geleert worden waren, aus Angst, dass sich die Szenen wiederholen könnten
John Homewood sagte, die Leute hätten sich ab 6.30 Uhr in seinem örtlichen Supermarkt angestellt und er dankte den Schlüsselarbeitern für die Verwaltung der Szene
Dieser Social-Media-Nutzer hat auf Twitter gepostet, dass seine Supermarkt-Warteschlange die größte war, die er seit acht Monaten gesehen hat
Premierminister Boris Johnson wird heute Krisengespräche mit den Ministern führen, während er den Vorsitz im Cobra-Ausschuss für zivile Eventualverbindlichkeiten der Regierung führt und vor „erheblichen Störungen“ in den Kanalhäfen in Kent warnt.
Es besteht die Sorge, dass das Chaos die Versorgung des in Belgien hergestellten Pfizer / BioNTech-Coronavirus-Impfstoffs nach Großbritannien stören könnte – Militärflugzeuge sollen die Luftbrücke versorgen, wenn das Verbot länger als 48 Stunden dauert.
Ein Sprecher Nr. 10 sagte gestern: “Der Premierminister wird morgen ein Cobra-Treffen leiten, um die Situation in Bezug auf internationale Reisen zu erörtern, insbesondere den stetigen Güterfluss nach und aus Großbritannien.”
Die neu eingeführten Tier 4-Beschränkungen bedeuten, dass alle nicht wesentlichen Geschäfte und Einzelhändler in Gebieten wie London, Kent, Essex, Surrey – mit Ausnahme von Waverley – und Bedfordshire schließen werden.
Supermärkte, Apotheken und Tankstellen blieben auf der Zulassungsliste der Regierung – ebenso wie die weniger offensichtlichen Weihnachtsbaumhändler, chemischen Reinigungen, Bogenschieß- und Schießstände und Reitzentren im Freien.
Die Ankündigung in letzter Minute gab den Briten nur acht Stunden Zeit, um ihre Geschenkeinkäufe vor dem Weihnachtstag abzuschließen, bevor die Regeln um Mitternacht in Kraft traten.
Hauptstraßen und Züge in Tier 4-Regionen wurden gestern verlassen, als alle nicht wesentlichen Geschäfte ihre Türen schlossen. Die U-Bahn-Stationen waren ebenfalls leer, nachdem die Fahrt aus der Hauptstadt eingeschränkt worden war.
Menschen mit den höchsten Einschränkungen können sich auch nicht in Innenräumen mit Personen vermischen, die nicht aus ihrem Haushalt stammen.
Es kam, als Wales am Samstag ab Mitternacht in eine vollständige Sperrung versetzt wurde – was alle nicht wesentlichen Geschäfte zwang, ihre Türen zu schließen und die Weihnachtsblasen auf einen einzigen Tag zu zerschneiden.