Driver shortage could lead to stores in the UK running out of alcohol before Christmas, trade group warns
- Alcohol providers are reporting delays in delivering alcohol to stores in the UK.
- The Wine and Spirit Trade Association sent a letter to the transport minister urging him to take action.
- The delays are a result of shortages of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers.
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The United Kingdom could face a shortage of alcohol ahead of Christmas as the country deals with limited delivery drivers, The Wine and Spirit Trade Association warned.
WSTA sent a letter to UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps asking him to take action against shortages of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers. 49 of the UK's wine and spirit businesses signed on to a letter, WSTA said in a press release.
"There is mounting concern amongst our membership that unless urgent action is taken, we will fall deeper into delivery chaos," WSTA CEO Miles Beale said in the release.
In a statement to CNN, the UK government said it doesn't anticipate any alcohol disruptions.
"The government acted quickly to tackle the challenges to our supply chains, which were brought on by global pressures including the pandemic and the international shortage of HGV drivers," a government spokesperson told CNN.
WSTA said that some of its wine and spirit businesses reported it's taking five times as long to import products compared to last year and businesses are now taking 15 days to process shipment orders compared to just two or three days in the past.
CNN reported the UK has been experiencing a worker shortage partly because some European Union workers left after Brexit. Trucking companies, alongside other industries, can't recruit EU workers because of new immigration laws.
The WSTA said the government should extend a temporary visa program for HGV drivers expected to expire on February 28, 2022, by at least one year and also facilitate better routing of freight from ports. Additionally, they want the government to provide more regular updates on how quickly it's processing tests and licenses for HGV drivers.
"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," Beale said in the statement.
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