The Covid pandemic “masks the supply problems of companies”

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Tim Crowley, General Manager of La Mare Wine Estate Photo: ROB CURRIE

Tim Crowley, managing director of La Mare Wine Estate, said it’s easier to get something from China than from France and many products and components take weeks or months longer to arrive.

He added that he was “very confident” that his business would rebound from the difficulties of the pandemic, but believed that the problems that many companies were currently facing were in fact caused by the UK’s departure from the EU and not by the pandemic.

A number of companies have reported disruptions in their supply chains this year, such as garden centers, furniture stores and clothing stores. The island’s fishing fleet has also reported problems exporting products to France.

Mr Crowley said one example of the difficulties his business faced was the added bureaucracy when exporting Jersey butter to the mainland for processing.

“It’s very difficult now with Brexit and we’re really suffering from problems right now. All of our supply chains are in Europe and getting things to Jersey, which is technically neither in the UK nor in Europe, works very, very hard, ”he said.

“I tried shipping butter to Holland with Jersey Dairy because we have to do the processing to produce our cream liqueur, which is our second most popular product.

“It turns out to be impossible – we now have to have the butter certified by a veterinarian, as an example of the problems.” He added: “We have been going to the same factory in Holland with the same product for 12 years now, always at the same time of year.

“This time the truck was hijacked three times to pick up the product. The driver was told it was the wrong code or the wrong documents. It’s all due to Brexit. We find it easier now to get something from China than from France.

Mr Crowley said items often required components from different countries, which caused further problems.

“Printing labels for our bottles normally took ten days. They were printed in the UK. Now it’s three more months for the exact same labels, ”he said.

“They can’t get the paper, can’t get the packaging, or can’t get the printing inks. And then they had Covid-19 on top of that to slow them down. But really, I think Covid-19 is masking the problem. The real problem is Brexit and I think it’s huge.

Murray Norton, chief executive of the Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said he had “anecdotally” heard many similar stories from members.

“The problem is, Jersey is not part of the UK or the EU and we couldn’t vote on Brexit, but we got stuck in the middle of it,” he said. he declares.

“Customs informed ahead of Brexit for a while that there would be difficulties and that we needed to check our supply lines.”

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