J Sainsbury Plc is working closely with the UK government to attempt to cope with shipping delays due to unrest in the Red Sea. 

The grocer is having regular calls with government officials to make sure the latest intelligence is understood, Chief Executive Officer Simon Roberts said on a call with reporters Wednesday.

“It’s an important issue the government wants to be involved with,” he said.

Sainsbury is also carefully planning the sequencing of products coming from the Asia Pacific region to ensure they arrive in the right order, he said. The vast majority of shipping companies are now diverting vessels around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, which takes 10 to 14 days longer than going through the Suez Canal, said Roberts. 

Container ships are being forced to avoid the Red Sea and Suez Canal, the main route for products transported from Asia to Europe, after Iran-backed Houthi rebels started attacking ships as part of a campaign against Israel in November. Shipping rates have surged as containers reroute.

Sainsbury transports a lot of general merchandise products and items like wine across the world, said Roberts. 

Clothing and homeware retailer Next Plc expects the shipping delays to affect most of its stock. Last week Next CEO Simon Wolfson said he expects a material impact, and that some clothing sizes may not be available while some new items may arrive later than expected.