Recognising our supply chain heroes

By Peter Wilson, Cory Brothers

Over recent months, no-one would have failed to notice the difficulties caused by the pressures and challenges in the supply chain.
Published in Norfolk Director Magazine, Winter 2021|22

Supply Chain: Cory Brothers

Fuel shortages, gaps on supermarket shelves, delivery delays and containers stacked up at ports and makeshift depots; these are just some of the things we are experiencing on a daily basis within supply chains..

But what is the cause of the problems and why is it happening now? And most importantly, what can we do to put things right?

The root cause, especially regarding the products we import from overseas, is that there is an imbalance between supply and demand stemming from the initial Covid lockdowns in the Far East and Europe. The situation is being further exacerbated by the diminishing pool of HGV drivers, along with congested ports, warehouses, depots and railheads.

Why now?

All of this, combined with our exit from the EU, has led to a point where we now have an almost perfect storm scenario when it comes to the essential work undertaken by the key people in the UK supply chain.

The pressures being experienced by HGV drivers, seafarers, port workers, and warehouse staff are unsustainable, and if we don’t step up and take positive measures to address the problems, then I am in no doubt, we are all going to be experiencing tough times ahead!

Here at Cory Brothers, we are ‘banging the drum’ to highlight the essential work undertaken by our supply chain heroes. We shouldn’t take them for granted. To start with they need to be better appreciated, better paid, respected and properly valued. For too long they have worked long hours in poor conditions, with little respect, and if there is one positive thing to come out of this situation, it is now everyone should have noticed how vital they are.

The problem is not just isolated to the UK however, the essential sea freight mode of the supply chain is under immense pressure to keep goods flowing from nation to nation. Seafarers can be stuck at sea for months beyond their contract terms, continuing to work every day with few home comforts or connectivity to their family, friends and loved ones. Also, due to pandemic restrictions in most countries, Seafarers are often denied permission for shore visit time.

Improving standards

Along with campaigning for awareness, Cory Brothers is stepping up to improve the standards in the supply chain. Our network of haulage contractors and drivers are now better paid, and we are supporting organisations and projects that make a real difference to people’s lives, by donating funds and practical welfare items.

We are working also alongside seafarers’ charities in the UK, as we understand the ongoing difficulties that seafarers are facing as a result of the pandemic.

One such charity is the Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest. We recently donated a 100 plush Cory Dragon Toys to the Felixstowe Seafarers Centre to be used as care gifts. Each plush Cory Dragon is a token gift to remind seafarers that they, as well as their families and loved ones, are thought of and appreciated.

What we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. Yet, one thing for sure is we’re passionate about the supply chain and intend to keep up our enthusiasm and support of the value these unsung heroes provide to us every day: after all it’s been a long time coming!

Peter Wilson is Managing Director at Cory Brothers.
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