UK travel ban ‘will have minor impact on freight’

ISLANDERS are being urged not to be ‘alarmed’ if there are some goods shortages in the coming days due to supply chain disruption caused by this week’s ban on travel from the UK to many European countries.

Senator Ian Gorst
Senator Ian Gorst

External Relations Minister Ian Gorst has moved to reassure residents that, as a small island, Jersey is used to dealing with short periods of interruption to freight movements.

A number of countries, including key trade partner France, applied travel bans, including on accompanied freight, on the UK following the detection of a highly infectious new strain of Covid-19.

The move resulted in massive tailbacks of lorries on the Calais-to-Dover trade route.

Rail, air and sea services between the UK and France are now restarting after the French government eased restrictions.

French citizens, British nationals living in France and hauliers are among those now able to travel, as long as they have a recent negative test

In a statement yesterday, Senator Gorst said that disruption would have some impact on freight that would be delivered to the Channel Island via Portsmouth.

‘The travel bans between the UK and various European countries, including France, will inevitably have a minor impact on Jersey’s supply chain via the UK,’ he said.

‘There should be an expectation that we might experience a short reduction in the variety of goods available. It is important to emphasise, however, that Islanders do not need to be alarmed.’

He added: ‘As an island community, we are used to experiencing the different risks in relation to our supply chain, including the effects of bad weather. This is another such risk.

‘Our supply chain is resilient and accustomed to short periods of disruption.’

The Senator confirmed that Jersey fishermen would still be able to land their catch in French ports despite the ban.

But he urged Islanders to familiarise themselves with restrictions in different countries if they were planning to travel.

‘Islanders travelling to the UK should respect the restrictions in place depending on the area of the country they are staying,’ he said.

‘And be reminded that the Scottish government has placed a temporary restriction on travel from Jersey, and all other UK countries, to Scotland.’

Earlier this week some of the Island’s supermarkets reassured customers that they would have ‘festive food’ available for the Christmas period.

A spokesperson for the Channel Islands Co-operative Society urged Islanders to continue ‘to shop normally’ but warned some foods could end up in short supply if the disruption continued.

‘After Christmas we may see some temporary shortages on certain fresh produce lines imported from Europe, if there continues to be a problem on the Dover-to-Calais route,’ he said.

‘However, this will recover quickly as soon as things are back to normal and traffic is flowing.’

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