Tuesday , 16 July 2019
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Recent scare stories in the media about food shortages as a result of the recent ban on flights to and from the UK were blown apart yesterday by Sir Terry Leahy, Chief Executive of Tesco, who stated very clearly in an interview with the BBC News channel, that disruption to their supplies was minimal and only 1% of its produce was flown in by air.

UK reliance on the sea highlighted by volcanic ash crisis

Sir Terry’s remarks could not provide a clearer answer to the general perception that the ban on flights had a widespread effect on life in the UK. In fact, 95% of goods coming into and leaving the UK are transported by sea. Ships bringing our food, oil, liquefied gas, raw materials, imported manufactured goods and transporting our exports abroad will continue to ply the high seas.

Whilst there were clearly some serious effects, particularly on the airline and travel industries, the lack of effect on the wider UK economy is perhaps the real story. As an island nation we are almost totally reliant on the sea for our commerce, communications, travel to Europe and many other aspects of island life.

Barry Bryant, director general of Seafarers UK added, “Our way of life really would be threatened if, for some reason, shipping could not reach these shores. Never mind the tropical fruits and iPods, there would be no petrol or natural gas imports and 95% of our trade would grind to a halt. As it is, through storms, pirate attacks, and lengthy voyages, our seafarers keep this island nation afloat.”