UK supermarket warns of looming gaps on shelves

British supermarket group Sainsbury's warned on Monday (December 21) that gaps will start to appear on shelves within days if transport ties aren't quickly restored with mainland Europe.

The movement of freight from France has been halted as part of a wider suspension of travel links with Britain to try to curb a new, faster-spreading strain of COVID-19.

The French government has closed its border to arrivals from the UK for 48 hours.

That means no lorries can leave the English port of Dover, the main gateway to Europe.

Sainsbury's says if that doesn't change there'll be, quote, "gaps over the coming days on lettuce, some salad leaves, cauliflowers, broccoli and citrus fruit" -- all of which are imported from the continent at this time of year.

It urged the British and French governments to come to a mutually agreeable solution that prioritises the immediate passage of produce and any other food at the ports.

Sainsbury's, Britain's second biggest supermarket group, said it was sourcing everything it could from the UK and looking into alternative transport for products sourced from Europe.