Will supply chain issues hit manufacturers and merchants?


In Consumer Advice, Government, Supply chain

Those brave enough to undertake building works during the pandemic will be familiar with hold-ups due to supply issues. Stockpiling for Brexit and coronavirus lockdowns have played havoc with supplies running through to manufacturers and merchants. So, with the EU transition period set to cease on 31st December, many will be wondering what will happen to their dream home ambitions should merchants run dangerously low on stock.

The Guardian newspaper recently reported that since September, Felixstowe has been handling about 30% more goods than usual. The knock-on effect at Britain’s largest container port has been congestion and delays, with cargo such as steel and wood struggling to get through. To add to the problems, the price of shipping has risen sharply, meaning suppliers are paying over the odds to get products into the country, and that’s bad news for consumers. With new tariffs and rules due to kick in from January 1st 2021, pressure to get stock through the ports is mounting.

The construction industry is rightly concerned. Kevin Wellman, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) said, “I fear that adjustments for Brexit will impact on the UK for quite some time. Holds ups and rising costs in the supply chain affect everyone – from manufacturers and merchants, to tradespeople and their customers. Those funding projects should have a good contingency budget to allow for price rises and also be aware that delays are likely. Remember that supply issues will be as frustrating to your tradespeople as it is to you.”

With online marketplaces not legally responsible for stopping dangerous products from being sold, the CIPHE is concerned the current situation will leave the floodgates open for counterfeit (non-compliant) goods.

Kevin continued, “We urge all homeowners and developers to be patient and only use qualified professionals to undertake work. Do not to risk sourcing products and materials from unknown providers via online marketplaces – they are not legally responsible for the safety and quality of products. Counterfeit goods will not have been manufactured to recognised bona fide standards and are likely to be low quality and potentially dangerous. There is no doubt the black market in plumbing and heating parts has the potential to grow in the current climate, putting lives at risk.”