Aussies are encouraged afterwards to stock up for Christmas, with global supply chains worldwide predicted to fight in the coming months.
A combination of shutdowns, border closures, extreme backlogs and higher customer demands are said to be the main reasons for the delays.
“The key message to consumers is to be prepared and not leave Christmas shopping to the last minute,” said Paul Zahra, CEO of the Australian Retailers Association.
Dr. Hermione Parsons, director of the Center for Supply Chain and Logistics at Deakin University, told Victoria that Covid-19 is largely to blame.
“It has created serious problems in air freight and serious problems in sea freight. And because Australia is an island nation, we have been hit hard.”
Britain is already experiencing delays
Britain’s busiest port Felixstowe is already under pressure, with a bottleneck of containers at the port – blamed on the shortage of truck drivers – already creating chaos in the countryside.
Lack of supply has resulted in panic when buying petrol and empty shelves in supermarkets, where people are worried about the coming months.
“With Felixstowe handling almost 40 per cent of all containers coming to and from the UK, this adds even more imbalance to the UK’s supply chain, especially in the current peak consumer period we are entering before Christmas,” said Alex Hersham, CEO from the London-based digital forwarding company Zencargo told AP.
“It is important that retailers and consumers prepare for an extended supply chain disruption and plan what will be a Christmas strongly affected by these issues.”
The United States also sees empty shelves and a lack of supplies, where cargo ships are stuck offshore and unable to unload.
‘Concerned’ if Covid cases increase
A report released on September 29 by the Australian Food and Grocery Council warned that when people in the food and grocery industry are forced to stay home due to close contact, food and groceries will be increasingly disrupted.
“The same quantities of products cannot be manufactured or distributed to supermarkets and through other channels with workers at home,” the report states.
AFGC CEO Tanya Barden said the industry is currently following the offer, but is concerned about the coming months if Covid cases rise.
“We need to ensure that close or relaxed contacts who are double-vaccinated and return a negative PCR test can return to work. There is already pressure in supply chains, with lots of staff quarantined due to being considered close contacts. This may affect the availability of the product.
“The next few months are when the industry usually builds stocks ahead of Christmas, and it is expected that this will be a strong Christmas trade if lockdowns are over,” Barden said.
Australia Post delays
The warning comes as the Australia Post continues to struggle with logistical issues.
A spokesman for the Australian Post previously told Yahoo News Australia that staff shortages due to Covid-19 exposures combined with “border closures, reduced flights and compliance with Covid-safe restrictions create challenges” and “some delivery delays may be experienced.”
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