Vodka and coke in peril: Can shortage at Coca-Cola as Smirnoff maker suffers logistics issues

The bottling business for Coca-Cola in the UK and Europe has become the latest to come under supply chain pressure as it reported a shortage of aluminium cans.

Coca-Cola Europacific (CCEP) told the PA news agency that it had faced “a number of logistics challenges” recently that also included a squeeze on lorry driver numbers.

It came as the boss of drinks giant Diageo told Sky News that it was also battling global supply chain difficulties related to logistics and shipping, as well as the procurement of packaging materials.

Nik Jhangiani, chief financial officer of CCEP, said: “Supply chain management has become the most important aspect following the pandemic, to ensure we have continuity for customers.

“We are very happy with how we have performed in the circumstances, with service levels higher than a lot of our market competitors.

“There are still logistical challenges and issues though, as with every sector, and the shortage of aluminium cans is a key one for us now, but we are working with customers to successfully manage this.”

Mr Jhangiani made the remarks as the company, which operates in Australasia as well as Europe, reported a 61% rise in half-year operating profit, driven by the easing of restrictions in the second quarter of the year.

Supply chain issues have become a major headache for global businesses as consumer demand returns following pandemic lockdowns.

In Britain, Brexit has further complicated matters, and both issues are being blamed for a shortage of an estimated 100,000 HGV drivers.

A lack of European workers to fill jobs in sectors such as meat processing is also proving problematic.

Well-known companies including Wetherspoons, Nando’s, McDonald’s and Greggs have been among those affected by various supply chain issues.

Ivan Menezes, chief executive Diageo – maker of well-known brands including Guinness, Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka – told Sky’s Ian King Live it was also facing difficulties.

Mr Menezes said: “It is more challenging… particularly on logistics and shipping round the world and on procuring some of our packaging materials etc.

“However… our team is doing an extraordinary job and we are able to handle it and I expect us to be able to fulfil the global demand for our products over the next few months.”

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