Wine suppliers call for urgent government action on ‘delivery chaos'
Concerned members of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) are calling on the transport secretary to take urgent action over HGV driver shortages and freight disruption.
48 of the UK's wine and spirit businesses have put their names to a letter, penned by the WSTA and sent last week, after rising costs and supply chain chaos have held up deliveries.
The WSTA has received multiple reports from its members that importing products was taking up to five times longer than a year ago and businesses that had previously been able to fulfil orders in two to three days were experiencing shipments taking 15 days to process.
Freight forwarders have increased cost be some 7% to encourage driver retention, a particular concern for small companies who are unable to compete with large businesses to attract drivers.
Companies have also found drivers and vehicles increasingly unpredictable in their arrival times, meaning goods have either been not ready or left waiting for collection.
The WSTA and its members have called on the government to act as a matter of urgency to save British business from "descending even further into delivery chaos".
In the letter the trade association told Grant Shapps it was imperative that he take the following steps:
- Extend the temporary visa scheme for HGV drivers from 28 February 2022 to a minimum of one year
- Facilitate better routing of freight from ports and smaller UK-based driver networks for short-haul journeys
- Provide regular updates on DVLA processing HGV driving tests and licences.
Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: "There is mounting concern amongst our membership that unless urgent action is taken, we will fall deeper into delivery chaos. 48 member companies have put their name to our letter calling on the transport secretary to extend the temporary visa scheme and improve transport routes.
"We are already seeing major delays on wine and spirit delivery times which is pushing up costs and limiting the range of products available to UK consumers. Government needs to be doing all it can to ensure British business is not operating with one hand tied behind its back over the festive season and beyond."