Empty shelves in Welsh supermarket as HGV driver shortage continues to strain deliveries – Wales Online

Cleared shelves have been spotted at a Welsh supermarket as reports are emerging that up to a third of lorries on the roads are completely empty.

Asda store in Cardiff was captured having a near-empty fruit and vegetable section, along with empty sections of the freezer and fridge sections, MirrorOnline reports. Depleted shelves have also been seen across London, with supplies of milk, bread, sandwiches and fizzy drinks running low in stores.

It comes as one in three have begun stockpiling for Christmas as millions have been unable to buy essential food in the last fortnight. Calls have been made for supermarkets in the UK to ditch their traditional rivalries in a bid to boost the supply chain and prevent almost one in three lorries on the road being empty.

Read more: All the things that might be in short supply for Christmas 2021

How the shelves looked at Asda on Leckwith Road, Cardiff, on Saturday
How the shelves looked at Asda on Leckwith Road, Cardiff, on Saturday
(Image: Getty Images)

Statistics from the Department for Transport show that poor utilisation of distribution capacity sees around 31 per cent of lorries on the road completely empty while those that contain goods are on average only 60 per cent full.

Trade magazine The Grocer reported that supermarkets have been urged to avoid a “survival of the fittest Christmas” this year to prevent further stresses piling onto an already creaking logistics network.

Shane Brennan, chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation, told the magazine: “The biggest choice every one of the major supermarkets has got this week is: are we going to have a survival of the fittest Christmas or are we going to all work together and try and get through Christmas.

“The problem with crisis is everyone fights to protect their own. So what you are finding is businesses fighting to protect the certainty of their own deliveries and that pushes against collaboration and co-ordination of efficiencies.”

This picture was taken at Asda in Cardiff Bay on Saturday
This picture was taken at Asda in Cardiff Bay on Saturday
(Image: Getty Images)

Tesco said this week that it was increasing its use of rail freight by almost 40 per cent to help keep its shelves stocked during the driver crisis.

It has also been reported that bus drivers are quitting to take up better-paid work as lorry drivers, leaving some key routes understaffed or axed entirely from the timetable, as operators point the finger at road haulage bosses for poaching their drivers in recent months.

Britain’s supply chains were brought to a standstill by the exodus of European truckers, leading to fuel shortages and empty shelves in supermarkets, as a result of Boris Johnson’s government’s disastrous Brexit plan.

Ministers stepped up their drive to avoid further lorry driver shortages by moving to create an additional 2,000 fast-track driver courses and almost a million letters have gone out asking HGV licence-holders who have left the industry, including bus drivers, to return.

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