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Yemen’s pro-Palestine operations strike heavy blow to UK retailers: Report

UK retailers and exporters have been dealt a heavy blow by Yemen’s strikes in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, who are enduring a genocidal US- and UK-backed war by the Israeli regime, a report says.

The Guardian carried the report on Sunday, citing results of a survey conducted by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), a business lobby group.

The research of more than 1,000 British retail companies showed that above half of the firms had been affected by the Yemeni reprisal operations.

“The price of shipping a container from Asia to Europe has gone up by as much as 300% for some businesses, while logistical delays have added up to three to four weeks to delivery times,” the report said.

Since November, Yemen’s Armed Forces have been targeting Israeli vessels or those bound for the occupied territories’ ports in protest at the war that enjoys heavy political, military, and intelligence support from the United States and Britain.

The report said the cost of shipping goods from China to Europe has more than doubled since December, as shipments must now travel around Africa rather than through the Suez canal – a route that takes about two weeks longer.

The supply chain problems are expected to be exacerbated next month as China begins shipping again in earnest after its annual pause for the two weeks of lunar new year celebrations.

“Besides escalating costs, the delays are creating knock-on effects, such as cashflow difficulties and component shortages on production lines.”

William Bain, head of trade policy at the lobby group, urged the UK government to support exporters in next week’s budget amid weak global demand and higher costs.

“There has been spare capacity in the shipping freight industry to respond to the difficulties, which has bought us some time. And recent [government] data also indicates the impact has yet to filter through to the UK economy, with inflation holding steady in January,” Bain said.

Bain said it was “a difficult time for firms” as the recent introduction of the government’s new post-Brexit customs checks and procedures for imports from Europe had also been “adding to costs and delays”.

The Yemeni forces have vowed to keep up their strikes as long as the Israeli regime sustains the war and an all-out siege that it has been simultaneously employing against Gaza.

The war has so far killed at least 29,692 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 69,879 others.

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