UK freight forwarders say no need to cancel Christmas

By Damian Brett

Robert Keen, BIFA director general

UK freight forwarder association BIFA is urging calm as reports circulate that supply chain challenges could put the brakes of festive celebrations in the country .

The association’s director general Robert Keen urged people to maintain a sense of perspective to avoid headlines becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

He explained that shippers and forwarders had acted early and had already shipped many products.

“If we see normal purchasing patterns, we should also see that most of what consumers are seeking will be available to purchase,” said Keen.

“After all, we need to remember that more [containers] were shipped successfully in August 2021 than in August 2019 before the pandemic. There is plenty of cargo being moved around.”

Keen admitted that there are operational challenges but forwarders are “moving hell and high water to address them and doing their part to ensure that the forthcoming holiday season will go ahead as well as possible”.

The director general also hoped the current challenges would demonstrate to the general public the significance and magnitude of modern supply chains.

“It should also put the precarious balancing act of supply chain management into perspective and hopefully lead to a deeper appreciation from the consumer for end products, and the essential role of the freight industry in delivering them,” Keen said.

Keen’s statement comes after backlogs began to build up at the UK’s port of Felixstowe leading to reports that some products could be in short supply during the Christmas shopping season.

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