No more five o’clock? Due to Houthi attacks, Britain is suffering from a tea shortage

Luc Williams

British media reported on Tuesday that the first company to admit that the problem exists is the Sainsbury’s chain. One of its supermarkets posted a message: “We are experiencing supply issues that are impacting the nationwide supply of black tea. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope to return to full supply soon.” However, the company later confirmed that the problem affected the entire industry.

Imports due to disruptions in the Red Sea are much smaller

Then Tetley Tea, Britain’s second-largest tea producer, admitted it was monitoring tea supplies daily because imports were much lower than they would like due to disruptions in the Red Sea. However, the company added that it hopes to continue to meet normal demand through inventory in warehouses.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said it had observed “some disruption” to supplies of some types of black tea, but said it believed the impact on consumers would be minimal.

Britain, the world’s fifth-largest tea importer, sources more than half of its tea imports from Kenya and India, making it dependent on the Red Sea route. The tea leaves are shipped to the UK for processing and packaging. According to the Institute of Export and International Trade (IEIT), the UK is the world’s tenth largest tea exporter.

Attacks by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea have caused many shipping companies to redirect shipments to routes around Africa. However, this increases transportation time by approximately 10-14 days and increases costs. British forces took part, along with American forces, in airstrikes against Houthi positions several times.

From London Bartłomiej Niedziński


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