// Importers have warned Brits to buy Christmas toys now to avoid shortages
// Shipping order delays have raised fears over gaps on shelves later this year
Shopping orders are being delayed by some importers who hope that freight costs will subside, as costs have threatened to sustain inflation.
The delays have raised fears over gaps on shelves later this year.
Toy importers are now warning parents to get their Christmas shopping done early as soaring shipping costs risk price rises and empty shelves.
Freight costs have increased in the last year and are threatening to sustain inflation far beyond the effects of reopening.
On Wednesday, Barbie-maker Mattel warned it would have to raise prices in the coming months due to higher costs.
Earlier this week, rival Hasbro warned it expected sea freight costs to be an average of four times higher this year than in 2020.
Covid-19 restrictions are slowing loading and unloading, which has led to blockages at several ports in the US and Asia.
Moreover, problems have been worsened by a shortage of HGV drivers across the UK, which senior managers have warned could lead to shortages around peak times.
CBI has called for lorry drivers to be added to Britain’s skills shortages list.
Earlier this month, the government unveiled plans to help tackle the mounting lorry driver crisis, including easing driver qualification requirements and improved working conditions.
Ministers announced a consultation to allow drivers to take one test to drive both articulated and rigid lorries as part of a package of measures.
The logistics industry, which retailers – especially grocers – rely on to transport goods to stores or warehouses, is facing an estimated shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers due to the Covid-19 pandemic and following Brexit.
In an open letter to the sector, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey and Environment Secretary George Eustice pledged to support recruitment and retention in the industry.