Bosses of UK toy companies are urging the government to step in and force global shipping companies to cut shipping costs as Christmas approaches.
They warn that the price of goods and gifts will be more expensive this year if the “insane” increases in transport prices continue.
Many industry players have warned that the situation is likely to worsen next year if Boris Johnson and his cabinet do not step in to pressure shipping companies to lower their prices.
Joel Bercowitz, owner of The London Toy Company, said the issue should be a “top priority” for the government.
“The government has a lot to do right now, but it needs to be put at the top of its priority list,” he said.
“I think everyone is aware that things cannot go on like this, it is crazy and something has to give way.”
He said before the pandemic and Brexit his company was paying $ 1,800 (£ 1,300) for a container, but is currently paying up to $ 19,000 (£ 14,000).
“We are now eight or nine months away from these price increases. If we get to this point next year, there just won’t be any money to be made, ”he said.
“This is when we have to think about how we do it, because we can’t bring in goods and not earn money. We have our own bills to pay, staff to pay, and we can’t do it any longer.
“It’s not just us, there are so many companies that are already at the point where they can no longer afford to spend $ 18,000 (£ 13,000) on a single shipping container.
“It is especially small and medium-sized enterprises that this kills.”
Wow Toys founder Nadim Ednan-Laperouse said he was paying up to $ 20,000 (14,500) for a container and said his total shipping costs had increased eightfold.
He said: “These shipping companies have carte blanche, and the public will pay in the end.
“There is no doubt this is going to cause an inflation problem in the UK and other countries around the world, and if governments don’t step down now there will be a lot more pain to come. in 2022. “
The problems would start at ports in the Far East where there is a lack of empty shipping containers – a sequel to a global shutdown of trade at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Companies now have to wait weeks for a container to become available and then they are sold to the highest bidder.
Congestion in UK ports and a severe shortage of truck drivers to transport goods to warehouses are causing further delays.
Retailers have warned that the delays will also cause a shortage of stock on the shelves during the winter period.
Industry leaders have called on the government to include heavy truck drivers and port workers on the list of skilled workers to allow Europeans to work freely in the UK and alleviate stress on the system.
Additional reporting by the Press Association