Tesco chairman admits stockpiling amidst Brexit disruption fears

Tesco boss issues Christmas warning

Tesco chairman admits stockpiling amidst Brexit disruption fears

Chairman of Tesco, John Allan, has admitted the company has stockpiled ‘long-life goods’ in preparation for possible supply disruptions at the end of the Brexit transition period.

Speaking just hours before the Prime Minister was due to arrive in Brussels for last ditch trade deal talks, Allan was unable to rule out the chance of temporary shortages in some fresh foods from the 1st of January, but reassured that it should only be for “a limited period”.

Mr Allan said:

“We are trying to ensure that we have stockpiled as much as we can of long-life products either in our own warehouses or with our suppliers”.

He said the UK’s largest supermarket chain had moved to spread imports across UK ports to avoid a reliance on a few points of entry, including Dover, amid warnings of long freight delays.

Hauliers believe such disruption is inevitable whether the Brexit transition period ends with a free trade agreement or not.

Mr Allan’s remarks add to growing evidence of a rush to secure supplies and escape tariffs, should the UK and EU be trading under World Trade Organisation rules from the 1st of January, 2021.

One major ferry operator, Stena, stated the volume of goods it had handled in the past several days, was in fact 19% up.

Executive director, Ian Hampton, said:

“We believe this is the result of stockpiling for Brexit with the companies being extremely prudent given the new reality of the 31st of December, with the new checks that come into play”.

He added:

“It’s therefore sensible that businesses do stockpile so they can ensure that the supply chains, and the, the opportunity and access to goods remains unhindered”.

The grocery sector upped warehouse capacity last year in anticipation that a messy divorce from the EU would damage supply chains.

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