Thursday 1 April 2021

Was the Ever Given Suez blockage the reason for shortage of ink at many Mail Centres?

According to reports, quite a number of  collectors tried to obtain clearly cancelled examples of the new second class bar coded stamp on its day of issue.  It seems that many people were disappointed with the results.   

If these two examples are anything to go by, it appears that the Royal Mail has run out of ink – the jet-ink cancellations are totally illegible, to such an extent that not even the slogans can be read never mind the date of the cancellation.

Speculation is rife as to why the Royal Mail seems not to have any ink.  The most plausible one appears to be that during the pandemic Royal Mail has been sending the mail to China for cancellation after which it is returned to the UK - thus resulting in the long delivery delays.  Anyway, the blockage of the Suez Canal by the tanker, “Ever Given”, meant that post could not be sent to China for cancellation, and so local machines had to be brought back into use at short notice, and there was insufficient time to replenish ink supplies from central stores.

Here are some more examples of postmarks applied to recently received letters:

A spokesman for the Post Office denied that there was any shortage but did acknowledge that ink had been 'watered down' as an economy measure.

My thanks to Andrew H for this guest contribution.


  1. Now that the Suez Canal is to open to shipping I've heard that sufficient ink supplies will be replenished and postmarks will become legible - current estimates say this will apply to mail collected from 12 noon onwards on 1/04/21....maybe you can keep us posted with updates after this time???

  2. Ho Ho! It must be April again!

  3. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was true

  4. I thought it must be April , Royal Mail cancelling stamps ? let alone professionally ............

  5. Must be an April Fool. We all know Royal Mail doesn't cancel stamps 😀


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