UK business leaders’ fears about Brexit, border checks, blocked ports and major tailbacks on British roads, has led to a hoarding of goods and demand for warehouse space.
As a result, companies from Rolls-Royce and Airbus to retailers, manufacturers and food and drink groups have all said they are building up stock ahead of Brexit on March 29.
A closely watched industry survey showed stock-piling was one factor driving output in November.
In a vast warehouse complex 70km north of London, staff are wrestling with ways to cram in more goods after a surge in demand from companies building stockpiles ahead of Brexit.
Efforts at Miniclipper Logistics to add new racks by narrowing the aisles are being duplicated across the UK as Brexit contingency plans spark a race for storage space.
The company, which after adding a mezzanine floor and a temporary warehouse has 28,000sq m of capacity, has already had to turn new business away.
“We have customers queuing up to move goods in,” she said.
The world’s fifth-largest economy risks stumbling into a disorderly exit from its biggest trading partner, the EU, if the UK parliament votes down prime minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement on December 11.
However, in an economy built on production cycles that run to the minute, and where storing stock wastes time and money, ware- housing is in short supply and prices are rising.
Owners of frozen and chilled storage space say they are fully booked until the middle of next year.
The government has had to request more secure storage for medication be built after it discovered that an order for all drug makers to hold six weeks of supply could not be met.