Building materials shortage

Building products such as screws, fixings, plumbing products and natural stone imported from the Far East are struggling to get to UK ports, leading to widespread shortages in the DIY and construction sectors.

The situation is being investigated by the Builders Merchants Federation, which says it is acting on concerns raised by its members over shipping delays.   

BMF chief executive John Newcomb, who is also co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group, has raised the issue with government.

Mr Newcomb said: “There appears to be an increasing issue getting these products through ports, with some ships being stopped from landing and sent back to Rotterdam. Rather than taking a maximum of one week to unload, it is taking up to four weeks.

“We’ve raised this matter with government and asked about the readiness of ports and customs, as we head into Brexit.

“Our members manufacture 76% of building products in the UK. However, we need to ensure access to goods from around the world, to keep the industry running.”

Supply problems in Scandinavia have also been blamed for increases of up to 40% on the price of timber.

7 December 2020

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