£22 million UK Christmas Food Supplies threatened by lack of Peruvian produce

£22 million pounds worth of fresh vegetables, fruit, coffee, tea and meat products may be in short supply in the run-up to Christmas due to shipping delays

£22 million pounds worth of fresh vegetables, fruit, coffee, tea and meat products may be in short supply in the run-up to Christmas due to shipping delays caused by the Panama Canal disruption, according to analysis by Russell Group, a data and analytics company.

Russell’s analysis of UK-bound ship movements through the Panama Canal during the festive period has found that the UK relies heavily on imports of meat, vegetables, coffee, tea and fruit from Peru.

Most of the disruption will be fruit, with an estimated £18 million pounds worth of fruit imports from Peru.

With many UK consumers starting to shop for these perishable items in the run-up to Christmas, there is a concern that the ongoing disruption may result in empty or reduced quantities of these items on the supermarket shelves.

Panama is suffering a drought that has left the canal without water and has forced officials to slash the number of vessels entering through the canal. The passage of a single ship is estimated to consume as much water as half a million Panamanians use in one day.

Consequently, there is a large backlog of ships carrying goods trying to access the canal. This has left many shipping companies in a dilemma about whether they pay a large fee to skip this queue or try another route.

Suki Basi commented on these figures: “The current crisis in Panama could not come at a worse time for the UK. With the economy suffering from a lack of consumer confidence due to the cost-of-living crisis, another supply chain crunch will do little to boost that confidence.

Shipping companies face a dilemma now, as they are forced to wait in the queue, and see their perishable items become ruined, pay a higher fee, or navigate alternative routes, extending delays and increasing emissions. It is a difficult dilemma, and one that has no easy solution.”


Post Date: 11/12/2023

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