So far this year, our industry comment has centred largely around the UK leaving the EU and the complications faced by the industry as a result. Nearly five months on, while businesses are still adapting to this change, international trade has been hit with another crisis, termed as a worldwide shipping crisis.
If you had transported a 40 foot container at around this time last year, your invoice would have been somewhere near the $2,000 mark. Ship the exact same freight today and it will set you back a rather different sum in the late double figures.
This enormous price hike has been borne out of a combination of different factors centred around a disruption to all areas of the supply chain following the COVID pandemic. But ultimately, as general trade now begins to pick up again, with lockdowns in the UK and further afield beginning to ease, and commerce returning to something resembling normality, the shipping crisis is posing yet another huge stumbling block to trade and threatening the security of businesses which depend on this import and export method.
So it seems the party industry, alongside most others, will have to ride out the proverbial storm, while finding ways to offset and absorb the inflated costs in the short term, meanwhile restructuring their businesses to navigate the challenges of Brexit.
PartyWorldwide.net spoke to some of the key players in the party sector to find out how they are managing the issues and working around them:
“Although we are seeing huge year on year price increases for container shipping we don’t expect it to impact our volumes. Partly because this is an issue that will impact the entire industry and partly because costumes are physically small enough that you can get a lot into a container and therefore absolute price increase per unit is not as bad as it is for some product categories.
“The unpredictability following Brexit is settling down but unfortunately it is not settling into a good position. It is now possible to ship wholesale orders from the UK to EU but involves more paperwork and cost than pre- Brexit. The biggest impact has been on UK to EU (and vice versa) direct to consumer sales which due to cost and delivery time increases, coupled with unpredictable application of duty and tax, are now not viable.
“We have enough logistics infrastructure in the EU to keep trading but we are working flat out to open a full three party logistics operation in the EU before the end of the year in order that we can get back to the service levels that we could offer pre Brexit.”