AN award-winning Cumbrian sculpture firm has spoken of the hit to its business brought on by shipping difficulties, amid the combined fallout from Covid-19 and Brexit.

Andrew Kay Sculpture, a Kirkby Lonsdale-based company named after the commercially successful sculptor, reported struggles with shipping and other delivery processes as a result of the two major disrupting forces for markets.

His business mainly exports steel sculptures - with individual pieces often over 2.5 metres in size and over 120 kilos in weight - intended for garden use.

Mr Kay says he is now no longer taking orders from the US and Canada until next spring because of the problem.

He added that the slowdown was a source of ‘great frustration’ as his business has now entered its peak Christmas trading period – during which he said it usually generates around 40 per cent of the business’ overall turnover.

By contrast, Mr Kay argues, delivery infrastructure in parts of Asia has continued with a minimal degree of disruption following on from the pandemic’s outbreak.

Of the US and European delivery difficulties his business is currently experiencing, Mr Kay said: “As is normal at this time of year, we are starting to get inundated with orders for stags from around the world but we are facing major issues getting them to the US and Europe.

“When it comes to the US, road freight is very congested and we are finding that American shipping companies don’t want to handle the delivery of large, fragile items.

“We offer door-to-door international shipping for our clients but the infrastructure in the US is totally shot due to less people working, I have had situations where clients have had to organise a fork lift for part of the route themselves and, being in Cumbria, I haven’t been able to do much to help. Europe isn’t as bad but there are certainly delays and hauliers are charging much more than normal – I feel because of Brexit.

“In contrast, the Far East seems still very well organised and equipped despite the pandemic. We had a herd sculpture (a stag, hind and doe) recently sent to Kau Sai Chau, the only public golf course in Hong Kong, via Hong Kong port. It only cost £400 and the process was as smooth as normal.”