Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Lufthansa to airlift food to UK amid border closure and fears of food shortages due to new strain of COVID

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Lufthansa will airlift fresh produce to Britain on Wednesday amid fears of shortages during the holiday season, even as France prepares to reopen the main ferry-truck route with its neighbor.

The German airline will transport 80 tonnes of food to Doncaster-Sheffield Airport in the north of England using a Boeing Co. 777F cargo ship, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.

While the European Union called for the resumption of transport to the United Kingdom, the main port of Dover remained growled by trucks unable to cross Calais for a second day. France, which severed the link after a faster-spreading strain of COVID-19 emerged in Britain, told the EU the routeshould reopen at midnight, according to people familiar with the subject.

Lufthansa said the emergency flight will carry unspecified “perishable goods” from Frankfurt, a major European food distribution hub that has close ties to producers in Italy, France and Spain, as well as to Netherlands, where food is grown under glass to extend the growing season.

The carrier said he was working with several freight forwarder specialists, whom he declined to name.

UK Food and Beverage Federation chief Ian Wright told Bloomberg TV earlier that if the port crisis was not resolved there would be shortages of food from outside the Kingdom – United, such as citrus fruits and some green vegetables.

Sainsbury on Monday warned that chaos in Dover could lead to gaps in its shelves for items such as lettuce, other salad greens, cauliflower and broccoli, as well as fruit. Tesco, Britain’s largest retailer, urged customers not to panic and buy, saying it had good levels of stock, including food sourced from France.

The British Retail Consortium estimates that around 40% of food supermarket imports pass through Dover, with a higher proportion of fresh produce.

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