Water suppliers now face bottle shortages


Tribune Business Reporter


A water provider is urging the government to permit its bottle suppliers to open during the COVID-19 lockdown to prevent raw materials shortages that impact customers.

Andrew Clarke, owner/operator of Crystal Select, told Tribune Business: "The only thing that affects us, because we are a smaller company, is we have a supplier we get bottles from. They are the ones that are basically impacted because now when we go to get bottles, and they are shut down, it puts us in a predicament.

"For instance, for a day like Friday, we need gallon bottles, but because they sold out on Wednesday and now they have to try and play 'catch up' this morning, there is basically none available on Friday."

He added: "If the competent authority [Prime Minister's Office] would consider, like how they had the construction industry open up six days a week, if they can do that for my bottle manufacturers that would be a huge plus for us. We get bottles from two places, one from ARM Supplies and Blanco Bleach. They are closed when we are closed, but if they can be open it would be a plus for us."

Apart from bottle logistics, Mr Clarke added: "It's looking pretty good. We have a lot of customers coming through for water so I would say it is pretty good. We're OK and we are able to maintain what we are dealing with; the lockdown is not affecting us that much.

"The only thing is that it put a lot of strain on us because we are open and we have a lot of customers, so we have to go service them, but other than that it is not affecting business.

The latest COVID-19 lockdown allows water depots and manufacturers to be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Kaye Bastian, Echo Water's managing director, said: "We're fine. The thing about us is that we only supply independents who come in, get their bottle and go, so the public doesn't come into our plant. We have a different set up from the other companies. Everything is going very well.

"With Chelsea's Choice they have all of those back-ups because the public goes to their depot. We don't have a depot as we're a manufacturing company only. There is a depot outside of our plant, which we provide water to, and he comes in and he gets his water, but the masses do not come into our plant."

Ms Bastian said Echo Water had not experienced any issues with bottle supplies, and added: "We don't make our bottles. We import bottles, and we have an order in now that's here and should be cleared by Monday."

A water depot operator, speaking under condition of anonymity, said: "Well, water is hard to get from the companies. Aquapure is blocked up and Chelsea's Choice, you can't even get into the door. They are backed up as everybody is trying to get water.

"We are a curbside business so we maintain a social distance. Just to clarify, we have been getting service from the water companies, but it is just a hustle and bustle as everyone is trying to get water.