The move comes as UK supermarkets and other businesses are struggling to cope with the impact of Sunday’s closure of vital freight arteries between southern England and France, triggered by the British government’s warning that a new, more infectious variant of Covid-19 could be controlled in London and surrounding areas.
A Tesco spokesman told CNN Business on Wednesday that the company had nothing to add to its previous statement.
The waiting for trucks piling up around the city of Dover will take several days to be cleaned, a British government minister said on Wednesday.
“I hope it’s a heavy vehicle [Heavy Goods Vehicles] will cross the Channel this morning, so the position will start to gradually improve, but I think it will take time, “said UK Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick. Speaking to Sky News, he said he did not dispute that The delays have caused problems for the supply chain, but said “there is no material shortage of food”.
The UK retail consortium, which represents more than 170 large UK retailers, plus thousands of smaller businesses, said it was “essential” that trucks start moving fast again, now the border has been reopened.
“Until arrears are restored and supply chains return to normal, we anticipate problems with the availability of fresh goods,” said Andrew Opie, BRC’s director of food and sustainability.
The commodity crisis is coming at the worst time for retail businesses, as they try to meet maximum holiday demand and build up additional stocks if the UK leaves the EU single market and customs union in a few days, without to have a post-Brexit trade agreement.
Lufthansa said it was examining whether additional special cargo flights could be offered in the next few days.
“We are also checking whether a regular flight could be possible,” the spokesman said. “This could be with a cargo carrier, but we are also examining whether we could use passenger planes only for cargo flights.”
The German flag carrier took a similar step at the start of the pandemic in March, when it launched “an air transport for the whole of Germany” to ensure that the goods were supplied throughout the country. The movement evoked the Cold War operation by American and British planes to keep West Berlin stocked with food and other essentials during a 1948 and 1949 Soviet blockade.
– Rob North, Sharon Braithwaite and Fanny Bobille contributed to this article.