Lufthansa is flying in 80 tonnes of fruit and greens to assist restock UK grocery store cabinets amid fears that the lifting of a French blockade is not going to forestall some shortages in shops.
The German airline mentioned it was carrying a cargo of lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, strawberries and citrus fruits, and contemplating whether or not to placed on extra particular cargo flights to fulfill demand.
It mentioned a B777 freighter plane would arrive at Doncaster Sheffield airport at lunchtime on Wednesday.
The flight comes as supermarkets and their suppliers scramble to seek out other ways to inventory cabinets as 1000’s of lorries and vans stay caught exterior Dover.
Retailers warned on Tuesday that autos would want to start transferring inside 24 hours or there could be shortages of contemporary produce together with lettuces, tomatoes, citrus, tender fruit and cauliflowers in shops from 27 December.
Andrew Opie, the director of meals and sustainability on the British Retail Consortium, mentioned on Wednesday there might nonetheless be issues in shops regardless of the lifting of the blockade.
“It’s excellent news for shoppers because the French borders have now reopened, nevertheless it’s important that lorries get transferring throughout the border as shortly as doable. Till the backlog is cleared and provide chains return to regular, we anticipate points with the provision of some contemporary items,” he mentioned.
The Highway Haulage Affiliation (RHA) now estimates that as much as 1,000 lorries and 1000’s extra small vans are ready to cross the Channel after the two-day French ban on freight arriving from the UK.
The commerce physique mentioned it might take a number of days to clear the backlog as a result of the Dover port space was in “gridlock”. “That is going to be an extended course of taking not hours however days,” a spokesman mentioned. “Nothing is transferring.”
Meals transport teams have warned that potential disruption couldn’t solely result in issues with provide after Christmas but in addition critical issues in January as the top of the Brexit transition looms.
It’s anticipated to take days to clear the backlog of autos, regardless of the lifting of the journey ban, as drivers should be examined for Covid earlier than being allowed into France.
The Division for Transport mentioned testing of drivers on the M20 and ready at an emergency parking facility at Manston airport had begun with assist from the army.
On Wednesday, livid truck drivers scuffled with police and sounded their horns in protest. Police mentioned there had been disturbances in Dover and Manston “involving people hoping to cross the Channel” and one arrest had been made.
The RHA urged any supply drivers not already in Kent to remain away till the state of affairs eased.
Whereas some contemporary meals cabinets might look naked in coming days, retailers urged consumers to not panic purchase. They mentioned there would nonetheless be loads of meals as conventional Christmas fare reminiscent of potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts and parsnips had been largely grown within the UK and there have been loads of provides of long-life items reminiscent of tinned and packet meals.