Bermuda will face an “unprecedented” week without a shipping service as Hamilton’s docks shut down this month for urgent repairs.

The decision to resurface the dock area took distributors by surprise. Jim Butterfield, owner of food distributors Butterfield & Vallis, said that a week’s shutdown at ten days’ notice had “never happened in my lifetime”.

The shutdown was said to be essential for the safety of dock workers.

However, Mr Butterfield warned it would have “a significant impact” on imports of perishable goods like fresh produce.

He added that the island had coped with delays of two or three days because of storms, but he had seen nothing like the planned shutdown in 40 years of business.

Warren Jones, chief executive of Stevedoring Services, said the company faced “no alternative” to closure for resurfacing between March 11 and 18.

Mr Jones added that the company’s concerns had been “consistently expressed since March 2017”.

He said that a combination of factors, ranging from the extra demand for imports throughout the 2017 America’s Cup to budget shortfalls with the Corporation of Hamilton, which owns the docks, meant the infrastructure at the docks had “steadily decayed”.

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