With new coronovirus strain, France blocks UK trucks and poses shortage risk

Row of typical English homes in Richmond London

(Bloomberg) – British companies, France, turned to planes and freight trains to keep goods flowing, desperate to maintain supply lines after truck traffic was blocked.

Supermarket chain Jay Sainsbury’s and Tesco are studying all options to maintain the flow of supplies, such as using airplanes for some shipments of fresh vegetables instead of rafts with trucks, while exclusive to Deutsche Lufthansa UK Can add cargo flights. . Eurotunnel, which operates the railway tunnel between the UK and France, said negotiations were underway about the operation of additional freight trains.

Eurotunnel spokesman John Keefe said “a lot of talk has happened with many companies that contact us with existing and potential new customers”. “We have already seen an increase in demand because of the term Brexit, but it has a lot of potential.”

On Sunday, trucks heading for the mainland line outside Dover, Britain’s busiest ferry port, crossed the M20 motorway following a new strain of coronovirus to prevent it from crossing the English Channel. The ban, which also applies to trucks transported through the railway tunnel, simply causes the supply chain to be blocked from time to time and lack of some food and perishable products.

Sainsbury’s said it is studying trucks’ options from continents to keep them stocked with lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli and citrus. Airfreight is an option, although the network expects France and the UK to reach an agreement to reopen the channels, spokesman Victoria Derman said.

Tesco, the largest British supermarket chain, “has a lot of food for Christmas,” said spokesman Shona Buchanan. But, if the problems persist for the next two days, “there may be a shortage in supply of some items this weekend.”

Supermarkets cannot stock fresh pear products, which means regular replenishment is necessary. Alternative supply routes are being considered in association with airfreight including the use of ferries sent directly from Spain and the increase of cargo from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Exclusive freight

According to spokesman Helmut Tolksdorff, Lufthansa will continue to take passengers to the UK until there is a ban on doing so. The aircraft will return to Germany, however, after the country and other nations close borders for flights to the United Kingdom. If flights to London, Manchester and Edinburgh are to be halted, then the operation of a special cargo service will help bridge this gap. Lufthansa Cargo operates airplanes such as the Boeing 777F, capable of carrying 100 tons.

The trains

Eurotunnel currently operates four or five freight trains per day to transport bulk products, such as auto parts, steel, aluminum and liquids. The figure compares six trains to hourly crossings during normal periods, which transport trucks through the underwater railroad. Before service was shut down, the movement of these trains increased by 11% over the previous year, if there is no agreement, amid a rush to recoup the stock before the December 31 deadline.

Eurotunline spokesman Keefe said the UK saw an increase in refrigerated food in freight services from more distant parts of Europe as a result of earlier concerns about delays in Dover.

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Cory Weinberg

About the author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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