Fish and chips wholesaler T.Quality has warned there will be delays on some key products over the coming weeks, after France closed its border with the UK over the weekend due to concerns about the new coronavirus variant.
Although talks between Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron to end the UK-France border shutdown are expected to conclude today and come into effect from Wednesday, the disruption has already caused delays on goods coming across the Channel as well as those arriving in to the UK by sea from China and mainland Europe.
Products such as packaging, oil, gherkins, and certain tomato sauces and mayonnaises are the most likely to be affected.
Mike Crees, MD at T.Quality, comments: “Yes there are issues. One is that goods already on their way are now delayed as lorries are tied up on the wrong side of the Channel trying to get in. The other issues is that hauliers here have got problems as they don’t have lorries in the right places at the right times, causing further delays.
“There may well be times over the coming weeks when customers need to take an alternative product, a different type of bag or size of box, or a different brand of oil. There will always be something available, but it might not be exactly what they want on that particular day.”
Fish supplies are not expected to be affected as most frozen at sea trawlers landed their fish in early November time and are not expected back again until around the end of January.
While wholesalers tend to carry around three weeks stocks, the issue of availability is compounded by the fact that they are experiencing higher than usual demand as restaurants in Tier 3 and 4 areas move to offering takeaway services.
Mike adds: “Being open minded is absolutely the right way to be right now and it won’t do any harm for shops to carry just a little more stock - a few more bags and boxes - because none of us know what is going to happen in the next few months.”