In the UK, many major supermarkets have decided to organize an airlift to supply fruit and vegetables. With this, retailers hope to be able to circumvent British port congestion problems.
Although the blockade of truck traffic between France and the United Kingdom has ended, significant delays can still be expected.
This threatened supply problems to many British supermarkets. Regulating the airlift, as previously suggested by carmaker Bentley in order to preserve its production, appears to be the only way out.
The problems in British ports were caused by a French reaction to the new variant of the Coronavirus that appeared to be on the rise in the UK. After all, France then decided to close its borders to traffic from the UK. The problems surrounding Britain’s impending exit from the European Union have exacerbated them.
A number of British supermarkets have already started on the Airlift. One chain is licensed to fly in vegetables from Spain and North Africa. German airline Lufthansa has already started delivering fruit and vegetable shipments to Doncaster Sheffield Airport. These supplies include lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, strawberries, and citrus fruits.
The stocks will be for chains like Aldi, Sainsbury’s or Tesco. The German carrier even mentioned plans for regular trips containing fresh food products to meet the needs of British supermarkets. In addition, Lufthansa may also use passenger aircraft to transport food products.
Shipping company Air Charter Services also reported that it has received orders for more than 300 additional flights to supply it with fresh food. On the other hand, Doncaster Sheffield Airport confirmed that eight incoming flights carrying perishable goods are scheduled each January. Under normal conditions, there are three flights per week.
The British Road Transport Association (RHA) estimates that after the French blockade near British ports, more than 10,000 trucks and thousands of small trucks are waiting for an opportunity to cross the canal. “It may take several days for this congestion to disappear,” the sectoral organization said.
This will be a long process that will take several days. The waiting list will take a long time to be resolved, as all drivers will have to undergo a coronavirus test before they are allowed to enter France.
Despite the supply woes, British retailers caution that panic is unnecessary. “There will still be a lot of food available,” they argue. After all, the ingredients for traditional Christmas dishes – like potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and parsnips – are largely grown in the UK. Additionally, there is also an adequate supply of canned and prepackaged foods.