Many in the UK may be in for a Christmas without wine and liquor

The warning came in a letter the UK Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WTSA) sent to British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps last week. The agreement was signed by 48 members of the industry association, including champagne and cognac maker Moët Hennessy, which is owned by LVMH (LVMHF)And Laurent Perrier.

“This is an urgent issue for our business, and it is imperative that [the UK] The letter said the government is taking immediate steps to help mitigate the impact of the driver shortage crisis ahead of the Christmas period.

The industry wants help with better routing of freight from ports, as well as more regular updates from the government on how quickly it is processing Heavy Vehicle (HGV) driving tests and licenses.

It also urged the government to extend for a year A temporary visa program that allows drivers from abroad to meet the long-term shortage. The three-month program is scheduled to expire on February 28 next year.

“We are already seeing significant delays in delivery dates for wine and spirits, which are driving up costs and limiting the range of products available to UK consumers,” WSTA CEO Miles Bell said in a statement.

In 2019, 54% of adults in England reported drinking alcohol at least once a week, according to research by the UK Parliament.

Beverage Industry Association She said it took five times longer for some of its members to import wine and spirits than it did last year. She also said higher costs It was passed on to importers through freight forwarders, who had to pay more for drivers in scarcity.

Ed Baker, Managing Director of Kingsland Beverage Wine Distributor, He said his company fills about 185 million bottles of wine each year, which equates to “about one in eight” drunks in the UK.

Accumulation In a statement, he said, the deliveries meant an increased demand for container spaces at railway hubs.

“We would normally expect to have 80 to 100 places for tanks, but right now we can go down from 10 to 20. This limits the amount of fluid that reaches our plant and comes on top of a shortage of HGV driver during deliveries,” Becker said.

The UK government said in a statement that it does not expect the alcohol supply to be disrupted at Christmas.

“The government acted quickly to address the challenges facing our supply chains, which have been caused by global pressures including the pandemic and the international shortage of heavy truck drivers,” a government spokesperson said.

The shortage of truck drivers caused a fuel crunch earlier this year, with many gas stations closed and long queues in those lucky enough to get supplies. In September, the UK government deployed army fuel tankers to plug fuel supply gaps.
Supermarkets have also struggled for months to keep its shelves fully stocked amid the supply chain crisis caused by the pandemic and labor shortages caused in part by the country’s departure from the European Union.

Some EU workers left after Brexit, and farms, food processing plants and trucking companies are no longer able to hire from the EU due to the UK’s new immigration rules.

The government issued 5,000 temporary visas to foreign drivers, but the UK Road Transport Association said Britain needed 100,000 more drivers to meet the demand.

Farmers, bankers, retailers, logistics companies and restaurants have warned the government in recent months that stricter immigration rules put in place after Britain left the European Union are making it harder for them to find workers and keep their businesses going.

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