Royal Mail halts mail to Europe as DHL suspends road deliveries into UK

DHL said only their road and sea operations were affected, while Royal Mail will still serve the Republic of Ireland. Credit: PA

Royal Mail has suspended all mail services to Europe and delivery company DHL has suspended all road and sea deliveries into the UK.

Transport in and out of the UK has been hampered by the closure of French ports and the Channel Tunnel just days before Christmas, with fears over the new strain of Covid-19 found in the south-east of England.

DHL said the new coronavirus mutation, which is currently spreading through the UK, had caused disruption to their transport change which meant they had to stop the deliveries "effectively immediately and until further notice."

And Royal Mail announced on Monday night that all mail to Europe, with the exception of the Republic of Ireland, is temporarily on hold.

Items that are already in the system will be processed as normal and made ready for dispatch, the company said.

"We're closely monitoring the situation and are ready to open our services as soon as we are able to once the restrictions have been lifted. We continue to explore all options," Royal Mail said on its website.

DHL said the disruption also meant they were cancelling some deliveries to the Republic of Ireland as well.

The company said they will have to return all items to the sender as they do not have the storage capacity to keep everything on hold.

The cancellations only affect DHL services that travel by road and sea, their air operations are not affected.

DHL said letters and postcards will still be delivered.

They said: "Only DHL Express’ road express traffic to the UK and vice versa has been temporarily suspended."

The suspension of road deliveries by DHL, which is a major deliverer of parcels in the UK, will be a blow to many hoping to get their last minute Christmas gifts before December 25.

France closed its ports to UK freight on Sunday night in response to the growth of the mutated version of coronavirus which is much more contagious than the normal strain.

The closure of the ports has triggered warnings from some businesses and supermarkets it may affect their supply of goods to customers.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he talked to French President Emmanuel Macron and they were seeking to resolve the issue as soon as possible.