Bonfire Night Fireworks Down 70% Due to Brexit and Supply Chain Crisis | Supply chain crisis
Brexit and supply chain crisis threaten to put the brakes on this year’s Bonfire Night fireworks as distributors warn import issues have reduced inventory by up to 70% and driven up the costs.
A supplier said wholesalers were unwilling to source pyrotechnics due to additional Brexit paperwork and a change in safety labeling which has confused what can be sold in the UK after the end of 2022.
Richard Hogg, of the distributor Fireworks Kingdom based in Doncaster, said: “Importing fireworks has become very difficult and unstable in the wake of Brexit. Our industry is particularly affected, receiving only 30% of the usual annual supply. “
He said the move from the EU-wide CE safety mark to a UKCA mark, which will be required to sell fireworks in the UK, meant wholesalers were reluctant to build up large stocks in case they couldn’t sell those items when the new system came into effect. The introduction of the UKCA label was postponed until August and will now enter into force in early 2023.
New rules on importing fireworks from East Asia via the EU have also pushed up costs, adding to a dramatic increase in shipping costs and a shortage of containers, affecting the import of all kinds of goods, from toys to electronic chips.
“It’s sickening to see empty shelves in stores across the UK as we usually get ready for our busiest season,” Hogg said. “Although we have stock, the other stores weren’t so lucky. We recently got 30 calls a day from other fireworks stores asking if we have stock that can be shipped.
“Shipping companies are now asking for a deposit of £ 5,000 per container, in case the EU member state denies our request to import from China through one of their ports, although this route is an essential means for many UK companies to import. “
Another major public exhibition fireworks distributor who declined to give his name, agreed inventory was around 30% of usual industry levels, but said the company had enough to make it up. in the face of demand. “It’s an industry-wide problem. Everyone is in trouble, ”they said.
Steve Raper, president of the British Fireworks Association, admitted there was confusion over the new labeling system, but said any fireworks imported with the CE mark before the end of next year could be sold in the UK indefinitely.
He said some retailer distributors were already starting to sell, but stocks were only about 25% below usual levels and any shortages were more likely to occur around the new year rather than around Bonfire Night.
“The choice may not be what it was in previous years, but there will be fireworks there. Maybe you can buy eight instead of 10, ”he said.
He said the shortages were largely due to a mix of production delays in China and very high demand last year when people turned to pyrotechnics to brighten up the November lockdown. He said stocks were to be imported from Germany, where fireworks were banned last year, to help fill the shortage of supplies from the Far East.
“Most manufacturers in the UK are carrying inventory into the new year ready for the start of the coming season, but this year they don’t have it,” he said. “We depend on the supply chain.
Raper said retail fireworks prices have increased by around 20% due to rising costs, including a seven-fold increase in the price of booking shipping containers.