In these continually uncertain times, challenges within the shipping industry have led to an increase in freight rates, particularly on imports from Asia and Africa.   Freight charges are currency the highest they’ve ever been, in some cases up 500% year on year.

Equipment shortages and the reduction of vessel capacity has led to stock taking longer than normal to reach the UK, and shipping rates are fluctuating wildly depending on demand.  Price hikes which have been caused largely by the coronavirus pandemic has shifted production schedules and demand, and adversely affected factory supply chains.  The situation has been further heightened by the drop in air freight capacity.

Add to that Brexit negotiations and the recent problems with jams at UK and French border controls, means that many vessels sailing from Asia are avoiding UK ports because of the disruption, choosing instead to move to other northern European locations.  Goods destined for the UK are being held up whilst businesses find space on ships that are prepared to visit British ports.

The impact is that price increases will almost certainly be pushed onto consumers across every sector during 2021.

"The crisis situation during 2020 is still not behind us and the repercussions will be felt during 2021 and possibly beyond.    Shipping rates have increased hugely and unfortunately, some of this cost will inevitably be passed on to consumers for goods across all industries.  We will always endeavour to keep any price increases to an absolute minimum but a 10-15% increase on some products is to be expected.

Keeping all products and materials in stock is a challenge, all of our customers are given a realistic delivery date when ordering, but we are grateful for your patience at this time and will always endeavour to offer an alternative product to meet deadlines"

John Clifford, Managing Director, Westminster Stone

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