If you have your heart set on a UK camping holiday this year, or even just a staycation in your back garden, you'd better move fast if you're not stocked up with all the right gear. Thanks to a perfect storm of the Suez Canal blockage back in March, Covid-19 restrictions, a shortage of packing materials and other factors, many companies are having trouble stocking many of the items you'll need for a summer getaway.
Customs clearance platform KlearNow has spoken to over 300 import-export businesses in the UK, and found that they're struggling to get the stock they need. Camping equipment has already seen a huge upsurge in demand as people come to terms with the fact that they're not jetting off to the sun this year, and with many supplies still stuck on container ships, many UK importers are worried that they're going to run out of stock.
And it's not just camping gear; all manner of traditional summer purchases, usually manufactured in China, have been stalled on their way here, and if you're after garden equipment or toys then you're similarly likely to come up short.
According to Sam Tyagi from KlearNow, many importers are still waiting for goods that should have arrived in the UK weeks ago but which are still at sea with no sign of arrival. He says, "A combination of Covid-19 restrictions, the backlog from the Suez Canal blockage, increasing global demand for shipping containers, disruption to shipping caused by India’s public health crisis and a shortage of packaging materials means UK businesses are already struggling to meet summer demand."
And it's even worse for smaller businesses that can't compete with the buying power of larger companies. "With competition for container space so high, some smaller businesses are simply being priced out of landing the goods and materials that they need," says Tyagi.
With the extra pressure of Brexit paperwork adding to delays, it's not a good time for suppliers or anyone who wants to stock up on all the necessities for a UK summer holiday. Our advice is to get shopping while you can; if you're looking for the best tent there are still some great deals to be had so there should be no need to be caught short.