Government urged to make tackling ‘insane’ shipping prices top priority
The government must make forcing companies to cut shipping costs for UK businesses a “top priority,” urged the director of a London-based toy company.
The bosses of British toy companies have talked about how “insane” price hikes in shipping rates around the world are “killing” their business and driving up the prices of products and gifts.
Toys for children are among the items that are likely to be more expensive this Christmas.
Many industry players have warned that the situation is likely to worsen next year if Boris Johnson and his cabinet do not step in to pressure shipping companies to lower their prices.
The world’s largest shipping companies, such as Maersk and Cosco, have been blamed for the ten-fold increase in prices seen this year.
Joel Bercowitz, owner of The London Toy Company, told the PA news agency: “We are now eight or nine months away from these price increases. If we get to this point next year, there simply won’t be any money to be made.
“This is when we have to think about how we do it, because we can’t bring in goods and not earn money. We have our own bills to pay, staff to pay, and we can’t do it any longer.
“It’s not just us, there are so many companies that are already at the point where they can no longer afford to spend $ 18,000 on a single sea container.
“It is especially small and medium-sized enterprises that this kills.”
Mr Bercowitz said that before the pandemic his company paid $ 1,800 for a container but currently pays up to $ 19,000.
Wow Toys founder Nadim Ednan-Laperouse said he was paying up to $ 20,000 for a container and said his total shipping costs had increased eightfold.
“The government has a lot to do right now, but it needs to be put at the top of its priority list,” Bercowitz added.
“I think everyone is aware that things can’t go on like this, it’s crazy, and something has to give way.”
Mr. Ednan-Laperouse said: “These shipping companies have carte blanche, and the public will pay in the end.
“There is no doubt this is going to cause an inflation problem in the UK and other countries around the world, and if governments don’t step down now there will be a lot more pain to come. in 2022. “
The problems would start at ports in the Far East where there is a shortage of empty shipping containers – a sequel to a global halt in trade at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Companies now have to wait weeks for a container to become available and then it is sold to the highest bidder.
Congestion in UK ports, followed by a lack of truck drivers to transport goods to warehouses, are causing further delays.
Retailers have warned that the delays will also mean a shortage of stock on shelves during the winter period.
Industry leaders have called on the government to include heavy truck drivers and port workers on the list of skilled workers to allow Europeans to work freely in the UK and alleviate stress on the system.