Ironmongery and tools import delays flagged in container crunch

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) is another key industry association raising warnings over container shipment delays on products arriving in the UK.

Fastener-focused BIAFD has noted a significant shortage of shipping containers impacting the supply chain, while BMF has also warned about product from the Far East struggling to get into the UK, including ironmongery items and tools, as well as other building products and materials.

The BMF - whose members represent a £38 billion slice of the construction industry supply chain – is acting on concerns raised over delays and has raised the issue with the Government.

John Newcomb, chief executive of the BMF and co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group, said: “There is a concern over the availability of products imported in containers, mainly from the Far East, such as ironmongery, plumbing items, tools and natural stone.

“There appears to be an increasing issue getting these products through ports, with some ships being stopped from landing and sent back to Rotterdam. Rather than taking a maximum of one week to unload, it is taking up to four weeks.

“We’ve raised this matter with Government and asked about the readiness of ports and customs, as we head into Brexit. Our members manufacture 76 per cent of building products in the UK. However, we need to ensure access to goods from around the world, to keep the industry running.”

The related issue of a container shortage as well as general port difficulties is being picked up more widely in the media, as disruption spreads to a wide number of sectors.