A Border Control Post is an inspection post designated and approved in line with EU legislation for carrying out checks on animals and animal products arriving from third countries at a European Union border. These checks are carried out to protect animal and public health, and animal welfare.
Perishable Movements Limited have a DEFRA approved Border Control Post in Spalding, Lincolnshire and it’s now officially open for business.
Collaboration between PML and FreshLinc aims to reduce the pressure at ports
PML and FreshLinc’s venture to operate a remote HMRC / Defra-approved Border Control Post (BCP) and ERT (bonded warehouse) facility has finally been approved and is now up and running.
Completed ahead of Brexit, the global perishable cargo specialist partnered with transport and logistics company FreshLinc to run the operation at Fresh Linc’s Spalding HQ, to enable a speedier movement of product from the ports and therefore delivering an extended shelf life of up to 48 hours. However there was a delay of over three months for the project to be greenlighted due to the pandemic.
The BCP, which sits on a 70,000 sq ft site, should have been effective from 1 January 2021 and represents a £400,000 investment. The facility includes a purpose-built 10,000 sq ft warehouse with the capacity to store 330 pallets and dedicated inspection areas for customs and Defra. Four new staff have been trained to ensure a round-the-clock service.
The two sides explain that the Spalding location is ideally placed for freight traffic coming out of Dover and Southampton docks and the move to set up a BCP away from the ports “represents a solution to the delays and excessive queues which impede the onward movement of freight.”
PML sales director Nick Finbow said: “It is unfortunate that the official opening of the facility at Spalding was delayed but of course, we are accepting that we are all working under exceptional circumstances. We are delighted that we can now offer our customers the benefit of a safe and speedy transfer out of the ports which should ultimately deliver a minimum of 24-48 hours additional shelf life on perishable goods with no break in the cold chain.
“As a business PML has always demonstrated forward thinking and is proactive in identifying innovative solutions to any challenge which threatens to impede its ability to deliver the effective, seamless service for which it is renowned.”
Need help navigating the BREXIT import/export red-tape? Get in touch:
PML reflects on a chaotic few months for the logistics sector, telling us how it has successfully adapted its business, and looks ahead to the next Brexit pinch points.
The drama associated with Brexit has featured heavily on the business
agenda for some time, but over the last few months tensions have been running
particularly high. Companies like PML, a global operator which specialises in
the transfer of perishable goods, have been preparing for the UK’s final departure
from the EU since March 2017, when the official two-year countdown began. But
the constant uncertainty, amended timelines and unprecedented last-minute
adjustments have not made for an easy transition.
The business reports 700-800 weekly truck movements both into and out of
the EU since the final 31 December 2020 deadline and the adoption of the new
required protocols has been fairly seamless. PML invested a significant amount
of time and resource to ensure its customers were kept up to date with the new
The 90 per cent of those that engaged with the company and took on board
the need to prepare well in advance have enjoyed a relatively smooth shift over
to the new system, despite the onerous amount of additional paperwork that is
now required. However, needless to say, those clients that failed to pay any
attention to the regular updates provided by PML have run into problems.
Their cavalier approach has resulted in a flurry of last-minute
questions and enquiries, resulting in unnecessary pressure on both parties.
Trying to put in place systems at the 11th hour to
generate the newly required export documentation, Movement Reference Numbers
(MRNs), phytosanitary certification and copy invoices is simply not possible.
“Those customers that have had their operations adversely affected as a
result of Brexit have to concede that to a certain degree this is due to their
failure to prepare,” says PML’s sales director Nick Finbow. “However, the
government’s handling of events has certainly not helped either. There has been
a distinct lack of clarity from senior decision makers and it has been a real
challenge to keep up to speed with the constant changes, even in the first week
of January we were being advised of new measures.”
To provide further assistance to its customers, PML has set up a
dedicated road freight division, managed by a staff of seven to provide a full
seven-days-a-week operation. Part of this team’s remit, in addition to
processing all the customs entries and Defra paperwork, is to help customers
who have got the paperwork trail correct but are still being refused entry at
“We’ve had instances where we have submitted the relevant documents as
specified by the government authorities, only to be advised that we need to
provide other paperwork,” says Finbow. “We’ve then gone back again with the
original documentation which was suddenly deemed acceptable. On one occasion, a
driver made three separate approaches to get through at Eurotunnel and it was
only on the third try that he was given clearance. Clearly, there is an
unacceptable lack of understanding and training at some ports, which is placing
further pressure on the system.”
PML says it predicted the likely bottlenecks at the ports, which is why
last year, it partnered with transport and logistics company FreshLinc to
operate an HMRC and Defra-approved Border Control Post (BCP) and ERT (bonded
warehouse) facility at FreshLinc’s Spalding HQ, to enable a speedier movement
of product and therefore extend the shelf life of perishable consignments by up
to 48 hours.
The BCP was completed on schedule, with a planned launch date of 1
January 2021. However, despite initial approval by Defra and local inspectors,
the BCP is still awaiting final sign off from HMRC and Defra. As a result,
PML’s customers are unable to benefit from the venture that was specifically
designed to overcome the constraints at the ports to ensure no breaks in the
“Naturally this is a very frustrating situation, especially since we
worked so hard to get the operation up and running within a tight time frame,
says Finbow. “It took just five months to realise our plans of putting up
10,000 sq. ft warehouse with dedicated inspection areas. However, we accept
that the current pandemic and associated lockdown restrictions have definitely
playing a part in hindering the various government agencies ability to sign off
the facility. We hope to be able to utilise the BCP, which is in easy reach of
both Dover and Southampton docks, in the near future.”
The next Brexit pinch point will be 1 April when further Defra legislation relating to the transfer of fresh produce in and out of the EU is anticipated, resulting in even more inspections. Back-up plans are already in place but PML acknowledges that the company may need to once again review its operations when further details become available. “Fortunately, we are a resilient and forward-thinking business, so we’ve been able to continue trading throughout the pandemic and have successfully navigated the myriad challenges posed by Brexit,” Finbow says. “We are confident of our ability to deal with the next phase of operational changes and will continue to do our best to update and inform our customers as quickly as possible as and when further details are released.
By Nick Finbow