UK experiences garden gnome shortage due to Suez canal blockage and lockdown

Luke O'Reilly
·1-min read
<p></p> (AP)

The UK is experiencing an nationwide shortage of garden gnomes, with the Suez canal blockage and the coronavirus lockdown to blame.

The Ever Given, a skyscraper-sized container ship that carries cargo between Asia and Europe, became stuck in the narrow man-made canal last month.

One unlikely victim of the backlog is the humble garden gnome, with garden centres running out of the lawn ornaments

Garden Centre Association chief executive, Iain Wylie, told the BBC that even garden gnomes had been affected by the blockage.

“While garden gnomes are not top of everyone’s list, gardening has been very popular during lockdown...and correspondingly we’ve had difficult times where supply chains have been under pressure”, he said.

“With goods arriving from abroad, garden centres were affected by the ship getting stuck in the canal as much as any other industry. Garden furniture, ornaments, of which gnomes would be some, being stuck in containers trying to come over here.”

The Evergreen became stuck in the Suez canalAP
The Evergreen became stuck in the Suez canalAP

Photos showed the Evergreen’s bow touching the eastern wall of the canal, while its stern looked lodged against the western wall, in an event that experts said they had never seen before in the Suez Canal’s 150-year history.

The blockage piled up a backlog of ships waiting to pass from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean, or vice versa.

The Suez canal is one of the world’s most important shipping routes, carrying about one tenth of all oil and goods which are transported by sea.

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