it is Monday Paris DecisionWhich halted shipping traffic from Britain in one fell swoop to prevent the mutated virus from entering France, sheds light on several surprising weaknesses in the island country. It showed, on the one hand, the importance of the Dover-Calais Gate, and on the other hand, the weakness of the British food supply. This could be worrying, especially given the lack of a reassuring deal with London on exit by the end of the year.
From January 1, member states will be obligated to set tariff limits for products coming from the UK. Negotiations have yet to start over the method and rate of taxes.
The location has always been a challenge to the UK food supply, as it relies heavily on shipments from the mainland. The last three days are a good example of this, as is the last 72 hours on the highway to Dover and in makeshift car parks around 3,000 trucks have stopped And he took a rest. A large portion of these would have returned to the continent to get fresh food, and some would have shipped British goods to Europe.
How dependent is Britain’s food supply on Europe?
Extremely. According to the British Retail Association
30% of the food consumed in the UK comes from Europe,
It is a very large number. Britain also imports more than half of its stock of fresh vegetables and half of its fruits from Europe. There are periodic fluctuations in some areas because while in the summer months the British are almost self-sufficient in lettuce, raspberries and strawberries, once the weather gets cold the demand can only be met by food imports.
For example, in January, 95% of the lettuce is usually sourced from Europe, while in June, 95% of the demand is sourced from British farmers. The situation is similar to tomato. In January, 85 percent of tomatoes sold in British stores came from member states of the European Union, but by summer, 60 percent of demand in the UK had already been met domestically.
If all goes well, this is the most effective and cheapest way to deliver food if Packed in refrigerated trucks Be delivered. For example, suppose they load a truck in Spain that goes to the port of Calais in France and gets into the belly of a freight ferry, then rolls across the canal, in Dover, and moves the goods to a corner of the British Islands. There, after unpacking, it is packed with some British products, which are also transported to one of the member states of the European Union by crossing the canal.
If the supply chain is disrupted, the British will try to treat fresh food imports differently. For example, in the summer of 2018, during a heatwave that lasted for weeks, power consumption soared. However, the scorching heat was not conducive to producing lettuce domestically, so they had to order large quantities from California and ship them by sea, which did not make the vegetables cheap at the time.
Could there be food shortage for the British?
Not likely yet. The UK’s largest store chain claims to have learned from the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic in the spring, when people began to panic over unexpected closings and stripping of store shelves. Since then, they have carefully planned their purchases and constantly check inventory.
In the British company Tesco, for example They sayThey replenish their stocks of basic foods long before the Christmas period and have been in constant contact with their suppliers so that they can replenish the quantity sold as soon as possible. At the same time, they indicated that because the truck has stopped, shoppers expect to have less lettuce and citrus fruits in the second half of the week.
This is a fairly subtle hint that on the third day of the truck’s stop there were already British grocery stores where customers were greeted by the nearly naked vegetable and fruit counters.
And what do the British sell to the Europeans?
Last year, global exports from the UK totaled £ 23.6 billion, of which £ 14.2 billion were commodities found on the European continent. British whiskey, salmon, chocolate, cheese and gin are all sold in bulk. The UK exports a huge amount of meat to the member states of Europe. Eighty percent of UK beef exports go to the European Union, and 30 percent of lamb finds a farm there.
(Cover photo: Truck parking in England on December 22, 2020. Photo: Dan Kitwood / Getty Images)