Construction News

Sat February 27 2021

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Suffering delays with imports?

17 Dec 20 The Builders Merchants Federation is collating reports on product availability issues relating to capacity problems at British ports and advising government on the impact this is having on the sector.

Cargo operations at the Port of Dover
Cargo operations at the Port of Dover

Current issues mainly relate to goods imported from China and east Asia, including sanitaryware, power tools, screws and fixings. Suppliers of soft wood timber products from Scandinavia are also under pressure due to increased demand worldwide.

BMF chief executive John Newcomb, who co-chairs the Construction Leadership Council’s working group on product availability and the movement of goods and materials following Brexit, is in regular dialogue with the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on the issue. BEIS has relayed these discussions to other relevant departments, including the Department for Transport, which has oversight of the shipping industry.

It appears that supply chain problems, so far, are more related to Covid than Brexit but that could change.

Last week the Timber Trade Federation warned that timber shortages were set to continue until next summer and possibly beyond. [See report here.]

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John Newcomb said: “Pretty much all the availability issues at the moment are Covid-related and the result of factories closing and re-opening, along with the shortage of container capacity, which also flows from Covid.  At the moment we view Brexit as a complicating factor rather than the main area of concern, but we have also raised the issue of the preparedness of UK ports and customs post-Brexit with our contacts at BEIS.”

He added: “While shortages are not reported to be impacting sites yet, there are a lot of suppliers and merchants already flashing warning signs.  It takes only one material to be unavailable to impact work on site.”

The BMF has requested anyone experiencing delays or other issues with imported products to email details to John Newcomb directly, at john.newcomb@bmf.org.uk, as the federation continues to gather data to present to government.

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MPU
MPU

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