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Grocery store food distributor goes bankrupt, leaving 1,000 workers out of work amid chaos with truck drivers

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Asda and Sainsbury’s food distributor goes BUST, leaving 1,000 workers out of work amid truck driver chaos, urging government to enlist military to keep petrol trucks and retailers running and warning shortages could decimate Christmas dinner

  • EVCL Chill had a number of major supermarket contracts and employed approximately 1,000 warehouse and truck drivers
  • The company was responsible for delivering 10,000 pallets of food and drinks per day to the two retailers
  • The collapse raises concerns that Britain is facing a ‘winter of discontent’
  • Food supply chains are under heavy pressure from the truck situation and a CO2 crisis










A private equity-backed transport company specializing in delivering refrigerated food to Asda and Sainsbury’s has gone bankrupt, raising concerns about shelf holes as Britain faces a ‘winter of discontent’.

EVCL Chill, a subsidiary of EV Cargo, filed for administration yesterday, adding to speculation that the two supermarkets will have to take over the company to secure supplies.

The company had a number of major supermarket contracts and employed approximately 1,000 warehouse and truck drivers.

It stems from concerns that Britain will face severe food shortages this winter due to a lack of truck drivers and an ongoing energy crisis.

Several of Britain’s largest retailers warned ministers on Friday that the government had 10 days to save Christmas from “significant disruption” due to the lack of truck drivers.

Among the issues that threaten a winter of discontent are:

  • A shortage of natural gas is causing a spike in gas bills for millions of Britons, along with the possibility of dozens of small energy companies going bankrupt;
  • However, ministers say: ‘There is no question of the lights going out, of people not being able to heat their homes. There will be no three-day work week, or a return to the 1970s’;
  • A shortage of natural gas leads to the closure of fertilizer plants, which produce the CO2 used in carbonated drinks and the meat industry;
  • The government has since struck a deal with fertilizer companies to restart a factory to maintain CO2 production;
  • A shortage of lorry drivers paralyzing the UK transport sector, empty shelves and long delivery times;
  • According to bosses, this could affect both Christmas dinners and the number of toys on the shelves;
  • Now, bosses of major fuel companies have warned that they will have to close gas stations because there are not enough truck drivers to effectively distribute all gas stations;
  • It comes after the Bank of England warned yesterday that rising household energy bills could push the cost of living up more than 4 percent this winter – the highest growth rate in a decade.

EVCL Chill, a subsidiary of EV Cargo, filed for administration yesterday, adding to speculation that the two supermarkets will have to take over the company to secure supplies.

EVCL Chill was responsible for supplying 10,000 pallets of food and drink per day to the two retailers, who, according to The Grocer, have been in talks with administrator PwC for several weeks to secure a significant portion of their refrigerated operations.

EVCL Chill was responsible for supplying 10,000 pallets of food and drink per day to the two retailers, who, according to The Grocer, have been in talks with administrator PwC for several weeks to secure a significant portion of their refrigerated operations.

It stems from concerns that Britain will face a 'winter of discontent' marked by severe food shortages due to a lack of truck drivers and an ongoing energy crisis

It stems from concerns that Britain will face a ‘winter of discontent’ marked by severe food shortages due to a lack of truck drivers and an ongoing energy crisis

EVCL Chill operated depots in Penrith, Rochdale, Crick, Alfreton, Daventry and Bristol, employing approximately 1,000 people who served many of the country’s Sainsbury’s and Asda supermarkets.

EVCL Chill was responsible for supplying 10,000 pallets of food and drink per day to the two retailers, who, according to The Grocer, have been in talks with administrator PwC for several weeks to secure a significant portion of their refrigerated operations.

The union, which has more than 500 members at the company, is trying to ensure that workers who work directly on Asda and Sainsbury’s contracts are transferred to work directly for the supermarkets as part of a rescue package.

It is owned by venture capitalists Emergevest, which as a separate company will avoid the costs of the collapse, such as severance payments.

Unite National Officer Matt Draper said: ‘The collapse of EVCL Chill at a time when there is a huge demand for truck drivers in particular, further questions the role and involvement of venture capitalists in UK industry.

Food supply chains have come under a lot of pressure in recent weeks due to the shortage of around 100,000 lorry drivers - with empty shelves in many UK supermarkets as a result.  Pictured: Shortage of fruit in a Sainsbury's London store today

Food supply chains have come under a lot of pressure in recent weeks due to the shortage of around 100,000 lorry drivers – with empty shelves in many UK supermarkets as a result. Pictured: Shortage of fruit in a Sainsbury’s London store today

Sainsbury's said it is taking steps to secure supplies after EVCL Chill . collapse

Sainsbury’s said it is taking steps to secure supplies after EVCL Chill . collapse

“There is something fundamentally wrong with a system that allows the wealthy owners of a business to avoid paying for the collapse, while the taxpayer has to pick up the pieces.”

Sainsbury’s said it is taking steps to secure supplies.

A spokesperson said: ‘We are in close contact with EVCL Chill Ltd. We have continuity plans in place to ensure that our operations continue to run smoothly and we believe that customers can buy what they need when they shop with us.”

The news came just hours after several of Britain’s biggest retailers warned ministers they have just 10 days to save Christmas from “significant disruption” due to the lack of truck drivers.

The British Retail Consortium said disruption over the festive period will be ‘inevitable’ unless the shortage of an estimated 90,000 drivers is addressed, while MPs have said the military could be used as a short-term solution amid increasingly serious warnings about the damage the driver has. could fall short in the coming weeks unless urgent action is taken.

Ministers have reportedly discussed contingency plans to call in the military to drive petrol tankers to the forecourts of the stations, but it is believed they will only be enacted as a last resort.

Agriculture Minister George Eustice has indicated that the government is preparing to extend the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) this year to tackle the UK's truck crisis.

Agriculture Minister George Eustice has indicated that the government is preparing to extend the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) this year to tackle the UK’s truck crisis.

Agriculture Minister George Eustice has indicated that the government is preparing to extend the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) this year to tackle the UK's truck crisis.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps suggested adding truck drivers to the list of skilled workers for immigration purposes would not solve the problem, though he insisted nothing was excluded.

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