Easter weekend marks the traditional start of the UK’s exodus to the EU, with coachloads of schoolchildren and carloads of families taking the opportunity to travel to Europe for skiing holidays and spring breaks. But while for many, short traffic queues are anticipated as part of the travel experience, business group Logistics UK is warning that travel delays – and the knock on-effect these could have on imports of food from Europe moving forwards – could be significant, unless the UK government takes steps to clarify its post-Brexit border arrangements with the EU.

“For the past seven years, since the Brexit vote, the logistics industry has been urging government to clarify all the arrangements which will be needed to move goods smoothly across the UK’s border with the EU,” explains Nichola Mallon, Logistics UK’s Head of Trade. “Yet despite ongoing representations to the government’s departments involved in the new border arrangements, which will see more changes introduced at the end of next month, our members are still in the dark when it comes to critical information about how the new Border Target Operating Model is to work.

“We are one month away from the introduction of physical checks on EU imports and government has still not told our members – businesses which move all the food and other goods in the supply chain – what import charges it will apply on every consignment they bring across the border and how this Common User Charge will be administered. Concerns still remain within our industry about the capabilities and capacity at border control posts to efficiently process these perishable goods. These are business-critical issues which will impact the movement of goods across the UK’s borders and, potentially, into stores and homes nationwide.”

About 30% of all the food consumed in the UK comes from the EU, according to the British Retail Consortium, including almost half of the fresh vegetables and the majority of fresh fruit sold in this country. As Ms Mallon continues, crucial information still needs to be provided to logistics businesses moving goods from UK, to ensure that supplies do not run short and shelves are not left empty:

“Fresh produce cannot be left languishing in vehicles for long periods of time – we need to be able to move it effectively to our customers with as little delay as possible. Add in the challenge of negotiating traffic jams caused by holiday traffic, and the introduction of the new EU Entry/Exit System at the Short Straits planned for October, and the risks to supply chains and potential for product shortages in supermarkets becomes very real.

“Logistics operators need the support of government to ensure that the UK’s borders do not become a barrier to the movement of goods.”

Logistics UK is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With decarbonisation, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods. For more information about the organisation and its work, please visit logistics.org.uk

Source: logistics uk