The government is looking to change how frequently overseas HGV operators can deliver within the UK to help solve the current supply chain problems.
A one-week consultation on extending ‘cabotage’ rights has been launched, and if approved would give European lorry drivers the right to undertake unlimited deliveries in the UK during a two-week period. Currently, they are limited to two trips between two places in the UK within a week.
No visa required
Transport minister Grant Shapps told SKY News that the move, which could be in place by the end of the year and last for six months, was “the equivalent of adding thousands of lorry drivers to the road, but we don’t have to do anything with visas in order to do this”.
The proposal has angered the Road Haulage Association, reports the Guardian.
Rod McKenzie, the managing director of policy and public affairs at the Road Haulage Association, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We don’t want cabotage to sabotage our industry.”
He said RHA members were “appalled” and “gobsmacked” at the proposal which he said would allow overseas haulage companies and drivers to come over “to do unlimited work at low rates, undercutting UK hauliers who are facing an acute driver shortage, rising costs, staff wages”.
European butchers to save Christmas
The government is also looking to allow up to 800 butchers into the UK on six-month visas to prevent a mass pig cull and ease blockages at abattoirs ahead of Christmas, reports the Times.
Slaughtered pigs will be stored under a government funded scheme for three to six months to avoid them being wasted.
The Guardian reports concerns from firms that problems will continue for some time.
Supply chain pressure
Meanwhile traders are finding solutions to supply chain disruption.
Jon Abrahamsson Ring, the chief executive of Inter Ikea, told the Financial Times that the company had hired its own trains to transport materials from Asia to Europe.
“We actually foresee that the availability and raw materials challenge will continue for the better part, if not the whole, of [the financial year to the end of August],” he said.
Defence group QinetiQ reports that supply chain issues could cost £15m, or 10% of its profits, this year. Dunelm Mill, Poundland, and Dominos Pizza have all reported pressure coming from supply chain disruption and price hikes.
Port operator DP World claims global supply chains could remain clogged for two years because the world is so reliant on China for manufacturing, reports the FT.
The company’s chair, Sultan bin Sulayem, said: “Delays today are not just the problem of what is not delivered, the problem is also the other products that can’t be delivered. They are in a queue now.”
DP World cooperates Southampton and London Gateway ports, and is behind London Freeport.