North Tyneside: Buyers queue up outside of M&S
Supermarkets fear they will face a shortage of fresh produce from Sunday, the UK retail consortium warned. Andrew Opie, head of the industry association, said in parliament that without urgent action, the border crisis would lead to delays in food by the weekend.
He said, “If movement doesn’t resume in the next 24 hours, some fresh produce will stop making shelves as of December 27th.”
But he said popular Christmas items will not be affected by the delays, saying, “People can shop with confidence for now.”
For the past 48 hours, supermarkets have been crowded with customers as shoppers look for their Christmas sales.
Some shelves have been released and with the border with France still closed, many fear that shortages will soon cause chaos.
Supermarkets fear that in just a few days they will face food shortages
Empty fruit and vegetable troughs in an ASDA supermarket in Walthamstow in North East London today
On Monday, Sainsbury said while Christmas dinner was well catered for, lettuce and vegetables could run out if the French don’t lift their ban after 48 hours.
A spokesman said: “All of the products for the great UK Christmas dinner are already in the country and we have a lot. We also source everything we can from the UK and are looking for alternative transportation options for products from Europe.
“If nothing changes, in the coming days we will see gaps in lettuce, lettuce leaves, cauliflower, broccoli and citrus fruits, all of which are imported from the EU at this time of year. We hope that the UK and French governments can come to a solution where the immediate transfer of products and food is a priority. “
It comes after France announced on Sunday it would close its borders with the UK after a mutant variant of COVID-19 was discovered to be spreading rapidly in southern England.
JUST IN: Tesco urges shoppers not to panic if they fear food shortages
People line up at the Tesco supermarket as Essex
Hundreds of truckers have been stranded as a result of the move and queues of trucks meander along Kent’s streets.
Boris Johnson worked hard to get French President Emmanuel Macron to reopen the Dover-Calais route.
A Department of Transportation spokeswoman said there were 873 trucks on Manston’s premises at 6 a.m. on December 22nd and an additional 650 vehicles were relocated on the M20 between J11 and 9 between Man11 and 9.
Eurotunnel Freight has posted on Twitter that an agreement could be reached for drivers to enter France if they could test negative for COVID-19.
Supermarkets have been overcrowded with customers in the past 48 hours
A spokeswoman for the port of Dover said: “Nothing has changed, the port is still closed, we are waiting for updates.”
Duncan Buchanan, Directory of Policies at the Road Haulage Association, has warned the backlog of trucks could be 7,000 by tonight.
As a result, he warned the UK of “a supply chain disruption like we have never seen before” with shortages in stores after Christmas.
The UK government is believed to have offered to use the military to run quick turnaround side flow tests to see if drivers are COVID-19 negative. However, Paris is believed to run the more reliable PCR test, which takes a day or more to get results.
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But Mr Buchanan told MPs that collecting truckers at a stop in Kent to test them for coronavirus would force them to get out of their taxis and mingle, creating a possibility for the disease to spread.
Mr Buchanan told the House of Commons Business Committee: “We are now hearing about the prospect of drivers being tested before they return to France. Personally, I think it’s a waste of time.
“You’re better off with the trucks moving and nobody shuffling. We have had very low rates of infection in the transportation sector since Covid started as we had the correct protocols in warehouses and supply chains across the country almost immediately. Therefore, the incidence of Covid in drivers is lower than almost any other category.
“We stop the drivers and send them all to a field in the middle of Kent. You will start mixing. That is actually counterproductive. I think it’s a knee jerk reaction. “