British retailers are warning customers that there may soon be problems with the supply of black tea to stores. Industry body the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said there were "temporary disruptions" to tea supply routes. Reuters citing a source reports that there are delays in the supply of flavored varieties. Suppliers explain this by the crisis in the Red Sea, where military and commercial ships are being shelled by Yemen's Houthis.
The severity of supply disruptions will depend on how long the crisis in the Red Sea drags on, retailers say. The UK is the world's fifth largest tea importer. More than half of it is purchased from Kenya and India, making the route through the Red Sea optimal. If you use the route around the Cape of Good Hope, the delivery time increases by 10-14 days, which increases costs.
The country's second largest retailer, Sainsbury's, was the first to warn the British about possible problems with black tea. An announcement has appeared in the chain's stores that supply problems are affecting the availability of black tea throughout the country. The retailer apologized for any inconvenience and expressed hope that the situation would soon be corrected.
The UK's second-largest tea producer, Tetley Tea, told the BBC it was monitoring tea stock levels on a daily basis as a "critical period" has entered into imports of the product. The company notes that reserves are now less than we would like.
Due to the crisis in the Red Sea, container ships are switching to a route around Africa, more about this in the Kommersant article "In a reliable and good way".