With many suppliers stretched to the limit in the period between the May bank holidays, delays caused by a lack of available trolleys can cause problems throughout the supply chain.
HTA ornamentals committee chair Geoff Caesar said: "We appreciate that we are at the peak of the season, however growers have invested heavily in CC trolleys so that we can meet the peak demand. We will not be able to maintain the level of service needed by our customers unless they have enough trolleys to cope with the peak and return them when deliveries are made."
HTA director of business development Tim Briercliffe said: "The industry relies on both growers and retailers working to the CC system and exchanging CC trolleys when deliveries are made. Not only does this help to keep the supply chain running smoothly, especially at peak times, but it does save time and enable more stock to be delivered.
"We have been made aware of many occasions this spring where retailers had not had empty trolleys (or in some cases any trolleys at all) and plants have had to be hand-balled off the trolleys before the delivery lorry can leave the premises. At such a busy period in the season these delays can slow the supply chain and add cost to supplier and retailer."
The problem could be exacerbated by the introduction of radio tagging devices this autumn, designed to root illegal trolleys out of the system.
It may lead to the relatively sudden withdrawal of a large number of trolleys.
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