“Plan well ahead!” Door & Hardware Federation (DHF) advises members on backlog at British ports as Brexit and COVID cause ‘perfect storm’
Door & Hardware Federation (DHF) has issued advice to its membership to ‘plan well ahead’ in the wake of supply chains being stretched due to delays at British ports. In particular, serious issues regarding the movement of product from ports, such as Felixstowe, (Britain’s biggest container port) is causing significant delays with firms facing a considerable challenge in securing the materials they need. Indeed, congestion at England’s ports is now so severe, that some shipping firms have limited the amount of cargo they will bring to the UK.
According to Michael Skelding, DHF’s General Manager and Secretary, although the main problem appears to centre on the import of products, issues also exist regarding the container availability for exporting, and also moving products within the UK. Last month it was reported in the Daily Mail, that 30% of container space at Felixstowe is currently being utilised by PPE for the government.
“Organisations are faced with an uphill battle to secure materials (particularly being shipped from Asia) as log jams ahead of the Brexit deadline take effect,” he explains. “Businesses are rushing to stock up on goods prior to the conclusion of the Brexit transition period at the end of this month whilst others are attempting to replace orders from other countries that were delayed or cancelled during the first lockdown. Since September, Felixstowe has been handling a third more goods than usual. Between COVID and Brexit, this really is a ‘perfect storm’ in terms of potential disruption.”
This month, car giant, Honda, warned that production at its Swindon plant will be disrupted, following transport problems which resulted in a shortage of parts, and in addition, John Newcomb, chief executive of the BMF and co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council’s Brexit movement of building products and materials group, spoke of concerns regarding access to building materials such as ironmongery, plumbing items, tools and natural stone.
“It has been reported that certain products are taking up to four weeks to unload, as opposed to just one but we are hopeful that ports will upgrade their infrastructure,” says Michael. “In the meantime, we are advising our members to ‘plan ahead’ in order to prepare for the possibility of continuing problems throughout 2021, particularly if a Brexit deal is not forthcoming.”
Door & Hardware Federation