‘Brexit: fail to prepare, prepare to fail’

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 legislative changes. 

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 certain ports.

“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 cold chain.

“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

PML Packs In More Investment

Perishable Movements Ltd (PML), the global perishable cargo specialist, continues its commitment to investing in state-of-the-art technology and innovative equipment, with the purchase of a quarter of a million pound (£250,000) multi-head packaging machine.

Image shows: Richard Hoyte, Production and Transport Manager

The latest addition to PML’s Heathrow base will have a dramatic impact on productivity, due to the number of heads (16 compared to the traditional 14), which delivers unrivalled speed and efficacy.  By installing the new Vegatronic 6000 machine, PML’s packaging rate for sugar snaps, mange tout and physalis has doubled, increasing from 40-45 packs per minute to an impressive 90-100.

The enhanced speed of operation requires an additional member of staff (from two to three) to ensure a seamless production line, while the versatility, ease of use and improved access for cleaning all represent further benefits. In the long term, PML anticipates using the multi-head packaging machine for other products.

Commenting on the company’s latest investment, Sales Director Nick Finbow said, “PML has always been at the forefront of ploughing investment back into the business and adapting all operations to offer its customers a service which reflects optimum maximum efficiency. This latest purchase will enable us to pack more items, at double the speed, meaning that we are well placed to respond to delays in the supply chain – eg if a flight is delayed – and counteract any potential disruption to the original onward transport schedule.”

Fill in your details to download the Perishable Movements Limited Air Charter Solutions guide:

Pinchbeck has its own customs border

 By Andrew Brookes at Spalding Today

A new border facility has been set up in Pinchbeck to allow some goods to be checked into the country when they reach South Holland.

Perishable Movements Limited (PML) has established a control point at the Freshlinc site in Wardentree Park to carry out customs checks and other official inspections.

It means that some plants and plant products can reach the area quicker from overseas – boosting their shelf life by 24-48 hours.

Freshlinc, in Wardentree Park, where there is a new border facility.

The UK Fresh Produce Network (ukFPN) – which brings together key businesses in the local economy – says the border facility is “in direct response to the congestion and disruptions currently experienced in transitioning consignments into Lincolnshire”.

It says the border post will bring a big economic benefit to south Lincolnshire – boosting businesses and jobs in the area – and revealed there are already plans to expand this further.

Angie Stuart, head of fresh produce at ukFPN Lincolnshire, said: “This is a fabulous, progressive move for Spalding and South Lincolnshire.

Freshlinc, in Wardentree Park, where there is a new border facility.

“We are working with the authorities to bring fresh produce, flowers and plants into the area using rail and sea, and the Border Control Posts (BCPs) create a vital link, squaring the circle, supporting local businesses and encouraging inward investment.

“The BCPs put Spalding and South Lincolnshire firmly on the map, it is the UK’s fresh produce heartland and the jewel in the Greater Lincolnshire demographic.

 “30% of UK food is transported through South Holland with 1,200 HGVs of food and fresh produce leaving South Holland every day.

Freshlinc, in Wardentree Park, where there is a new border facility.

“It is imperative that we support businesses and encourage growth by improving infrastructure and connectivity, providing a slick supply route.”
ukFPN Lincolnshire is also working closely with Boston College and the National Centre for Food Manufacturing in Holbeach to help train existing and future workers in the industry.
Mrs Stuart added: “The future in south Lincolnshire is extremely exciting and the BCP plays an integral part in our growth initiative.”
Freshlinc has set up Floralinc – new trading division that works with growers in the UK and Netherlands to supply garden centres, nurseries and retailers.
It hopes to add a specialist horticulture border facility to its site in July.
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) insisted the new border facility – officially approved on February 15 – was not set up as a result of Brexit.
They said the posts exist in EU member states and come from EU legislation.

Border controls that affect imports & exports post Brexit

Since formally leaving the EU on 31 December 2020, the UK and the EU have been operating under a new trade agreement. In this agreement, goods traded in between the UK and the EU shall not be subject to any tariffs or quotas on all goods that comply with the appropriate rules of origin. However, Customs formalities will be required by both parties in customs areas, and VAT and certain other duties shall apply upon import.


Let’s look at the different stages of import and export processes and how they are being affected, with a focus on Spanish exporters.

Exporting from Spain

Spanish exporters benefit from the fact that intracommunity operations are very simple with regards to VAT. Previously duty registered in the ROI Register by Spanish exporters, needed to have an EU VAT Number and to be registered in the VIES (VAT Information Exchange Service). If both importers and exporters have an EU VAT Number, exporters will issue a VAT Free invoice to the buyer. This rule changes if one of the parties does not have the EU Vat Number.

In contrast, extra community operations are subject to a number of additional formalities, such as obtaining the EORI Number and issuing a number of documents (depending on the commodity to be exported). From the Spanish perspective, and although export invoices are VAT exempted, the main issue is that the goods will have to be cleared at customs before entering the UK and therefore face customs formalities.

Brexit changes in customs policy

The main impact of Brexit for the UK with regards to imports and exports is that it is now regarded as a third party, thus triggering the need to process imports through customs. EU Regulation 952/2013 of the European Parliament is no longer applicable in the UK.

In order to try to minimise the impact on the UK’s economy, the UK Government decided to implement border controls in January and again in April and June 2021. Hence, from 1 January 2021, standard goods arriving in the UK require a EIDR (Entry in Declarant’s Record) as part of the simplified customs declaration process is made. Importers are allowed a six month period to carry out customs declarations, and checks are only carried out on controlled goods such as toxic chemicals and excise goods like alcohol or tobacco, high-risk live animals, and plants.

The initial plan was to implement an intermediate step on 1 April and proceed to full implementation on 1 July, when full safety and security declarations would have been compulsory. However, pursuant to a written statement made on 11 March, the UK Government has decided to postpone both the planned intermediate step on 1 April, and the full implementation scheduled for 1 July. The next significant date in the calendar is now 1 October 2021, from when additional requirements will be necessary, especially for those trading goods subject to sanitary controls, such as products of animal origin, fishery products and live bivalve molluscs, high-risk food and feed not of animal origin, and plants and plant products. Export Health Certificate requirements for products of animal origin and certain animal by-products will come into force at the same time. The UK Government has taken the view that, although most businesses – and the UK’s workforce and infrastructure – would have been ready for the so-called Stage 2 on 1 April, some others needed more time to prepare. 1 January 2022 will bring additional requirements, with a view to setting March 2022 as the date when checks at Border Control Posts will take place on live animals and low risk plants and plant products.

How Brexit is affecting Spanish exporters?

The UK has traditionally been a stronger market for Spanish exporters than Spain has been for UK exporters. Between 2015 and 2019 an average of over 19 billion euros of exports from Spain to the UK took place, in comparison to 11.5 billion euros of UK goods imported into Spain.

All flow of goods between Spain and the UK  from January 2021 ceased to be considered intracommunity transactions and became subject to customs formalities (except for exports of goods to Northern Ireland, which will continue to be declared in the Intrastat system).

Although UK importers are most likely to be affected by the customs regulations, Spanish exporters are also facing related challenges due to Brexit. Customs invoices now must be issued, and goods have to be properly identified with their tariff code to avoid delays. Interestingly to note, the CE marking is no longer mandatory for products sold to UK customers.

Since EU legislation requires that all goods brought out of the EU customs territory be risk assessed and subjected to customs controls before departure, an exit summary declaration (EXS) also needs to be submitted.

How is Brexit affecting UK importers?

Post Brexit, there has been no changes to the general substantive safety requirements required for products to be sold in the UK, with regards to the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR). Neither has there been any change to sector-specific product regulations. The UK Government has expressed a desire to remain closely aligned with EU product safety standards in order to facilitate trade, but the future position remains uncertain. Northern Ireland remains subject to a slightly different regulatory regime and further changes may happen in the future.

Despite product safety requirements remaining the same, there have been two key changes for importing products to the UK:

  • the UK is now a separate market to the EU and it will have an impact on who is considered responsible for the safety of products placed into the UK market.
  • the UK is no longer apart of the EU CE-marking regime, or the Safety Gate/RAPEX regime for sharing defective product information and facilitating recalls.

Product safety responsibility

Schedule 9 of the Product Safety and Metrology Regulations 2019 came into force at the end of 2020 and made several amendments to the GPSR. One of the main effects of these amendments is that the ‘producer’ (to whom the primary product safety obligations attach) may change.

Essentially, the manufacturer of a product will retain the ultimate responsibility for the conformity of the product to the relevant product safety regime, provided that the manufacturer or its representative is established in the UK market. If the manufacturer (or representative) is not established in the UK market, then the importer of the product to the UK will be considered the “producer” of the product, and will assume the responsibility.

Producers must comply with the GPSR and any other relevant product-specific regime and take reasonable steps to ensure that the product is safe to use and minimise risks associated with the product, such as providing labelling and warnings where appropriate and ensuring effective traceability and reporting.

The practical impact on UK importers is that in the absence of the product manufacturer being established in the UK market, the importer will now be considered a producer, and will assume liability for the safety of the product. This exposes many previously unaffected importers to potential defective product claims and places a greater regulatory burden on importers to ensure product safety compliance.

Labelling and reporting

The UK (with the exception of Northern Ireland) will no longer be part of the EU CE marking regime for indicating conformity with product safety regimes. From 1 January 2021 the UK requires products being placed on the UK market to bear the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) mark.

Currently, the technical requirements and the conformity assessment processes and standards used to demonstrate conformity for UKCA purposes remain largely the same as those supporting the EU regime for CE marking. The UK Government may diverge from this position in the future, but currently any product bearing a CE mark should be able to bear a UKCA mark.

In most cases, a transitional period applies so that the UKCA mark will not need to be applied to any products marketed in the UK before 1 January 2022, and products labelled with the CE mark will be considered to have conformed with the updated UK regime. But, in some cases the UKCA mark is already required to be applied to goods placed on the UK market (since 1 January 2021). This requirement does not apply to existing fully manufactured stock, but from 1 January 2023 the UKCA marking must be permanently attached to the product, as opposed to being printed on packaging or applied in any other temporary manner.

Additionally, as of 1 January 2021, the UK is no longer part of the EU RAPEX product safety regime for identifying and sharing product information on defective products and coordinating product recalls. The UK Government intends to set up a similar regime, but until it does, importers do not need to have regard to RAPEX alerts relating to products for sale on the UK market. It may however be sensible to pay attention still if a product is subject to a product recall in the EU, in order to protect importers from potential product liability claims as discussed above.

If you need advice about Brexit and import/export trade legislation, fill in your details below and we’ll be in touch.

Air cargo demand recovers to pre-Covid levels, latest IATA data reveals

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released January 2021 data for global air cargo markets showing that air cargo demand returned to pre-Covid levels (January 2019) for the first time since the onset of the crisis. January demand also showed strong month-to-month growth over December 2020 levels.

Gustavo Mundel is Perishable Movements Limited air cargo freight manager;

“Demand for air freight is returning to pre-Covid market levels, we are also seeing a spike in  demand for charter, ACMI and BSA programs, which is  the natural response from the air cargo market when facing belly capacity shortage.”

Perishable Movements Limited Air Freight Charter Manager

“We won’t see a shift in balance until there is more clarity in vaccine rollout programmes for those dependent on air freight logistics, coupled with  passenger aircraft flights coming back in higher numbers. We are witnessing the ever-more importance of airfreight in keeping supply chains going with vital and lifesaving goods which are essential for paving the way for a new normality to take place”.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs), was up 1.1 per cent compared to January 2019 and +3 per cent compared to December 2020. All regions saw month-on-month improvement in air cargo demand, and North America and Africa were the strongest performers.

The recovery in global capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), was reversed owing to new capacity cuts on the passenger side. Capacity shrank 19.5 per cent compared to January 2019 and fell 5 per cent compared to December 2020, the first monthly decline since April 2020.

The operating backdrop remains supportive for air cargo volumes, IATA said. Conditions in the manufacturing sector remain robust despite new Covid-19 outbreaks that dragged down passenger demand. The global manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was at 53.5 in January. Results above 50 indicate manufacturing growth versus the prior month.

The new export orders component of the manufacturing PMI – a leading indicator of air cargo demand– continued to point to further CTK improvement. However, the performance of the metric was less robust compared with Q42020 as Covid-19 resurgence negatively impacted export business in emerging markets. Should this continue or expand to other markers, it could weigh on future air cargo growth.

The level of inventories remains relatively low compared to sales volumes. Historically, this has meant that businesses had to quickly refill their stocks, for which they also used air cargo services.

“Air cargo traffic is back to pre-crisis levels and that is some much-needed good news for the global economy,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO. 

Source: Fruitnet.com



Open letter to Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Dear Sadiq Khan,


As the Lord Mayor of London and head of the executive of the Greater
London Authority, you’ve taken the decision to extend the Low Emissions
Zone (LEZ) emissions standards from 1st March 2021 to making it tougher
for heavier vehicles to drive within the Greater London area. This includes
Heathrow as per your guidance on www.tfl.govuk: ‘All roads within
Greater London, those at Heathrow and parts of the M1 and M4 are
included.’ The charges are payable 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
The charges range from £100 to £300 per day with penalty charges at
£500 or £250 if paid within 14 days.


As a company which is involved in the transfer of perishable – mainly
essential food – cargo both into and out of the UK this move is crippling
our business. We have daily consignments of food departing from
Heathrow and coming in from Heathrow which we handle on behalf of our
customers to ensure a seamless onward journey. We also receive daily
consignments of European produce to our packhouse, which is then
packed and loaded, ready for distribution to the UK’s major food retailers.
While our own fleet of trucks is Euro VI compliant, many of the European
hauliers that we work with to deliver food are not and are now refusing to
come to Heathrow because of the unacceptably high charges.


During the pandemic, we have worked tirelessly to maintain our
operations despite the challenging conditions, so that the supply chain to
the UK’s supermarkets and key retailers could remain intact. We’ve also
been responsible for the safe transfer of essential PPE. Our employees are
classed as Essential Workers because of the important role they play in
keeping supermarkets stocked with vital food supplies.
Having survived the difficult trading conditions associated with the
pandemic we were then faced with the incredibly stressful fallout of
Britain’s departure from the EU. To say there has been a distinct lack of
clarity from senior decision makers is an understatement. The handling of
Brexit and its impact on our industry has been shambolic. We’ve had to
employ teams of people to try and keep up to speed with the constant
changes, which were still being modified as late as the first week of
January. Despite this, we’ve managed to adapt our operations yet again
and have successfully helped our clients understand the new protocols to
ensure perishable food supplies successfully reach their intended
destination on time.
Two major blows to the industry which could potentially have destroyed
an established British business. But we survived.

A business that employs around 100 members of staff. A business that
has invested heavily in helping the post-Brexit UK transport infrastructure
by creating an approved Border Control Post and ERT (bonded
warehouse) facility away from the ports at Spalding to enable the
continued speedy movement of produce. A business that is expanding and
generating new jobs. A business that supported UK manufacturing to the
tune of £500,000 by investing in a new fleet of state-of-the-art trucks. A
business that is closely aligned with Britain’s plans to ensure Heathrow
can compete with other major European airports.


And how are we repaid?


At a time when you are trying to assert Heathrow as an equal to Paris
CDG and Amsterdam in terms of airfreight the introduction of this tax has
effectively made this mission impossible. And with it you have also made
our plans to extend our operations in Heathrow untenable. This will lead
to people losing their jobs as we will be forced to relocate; the business
will have to spend thousand of pounds in re-training new staff and those
staff that are able to move to a new location will ironically be adding to
the cost of fuel emissions by generating more traffic on the roads as they
are forced to make longer journeys to work.


So much for supporting Britain’s essential workforce.

A working day: an interview with Mike Parr, Director, Perishable Movements Limited

Mike Parr Director Perishable Movements Limited

Q. What in your background prepared you for your current role?
I’ve been in logistics for 38 years, and in perishables for about 36 years. It’s a long time. I’ve prepared for my current role through this experience – there is not much I haven’t come across in this area.

Q. What has been the key challenge in getting your organisation ready for Brexit?
The biggest challenge is the continual changing of the rules and not knowing exactly where we’ll stand once Brexit occurs. This all could have been handled more than two years ago and we would have all been ready. It’s not complicated and would have been done. With a deal or not, it would have been made a lot easier if they’d have stopped moving the goalposts. The country most ready for these changes is the Dutch, and they are miles ahead of everyone else.

For us, we’ve recruited a bit, and we are doing continual train- ing on all the different scenarios and every eventuality. We are ready for whatever happens. For example, we partnered with transport and logistics company FreshLinc to operate an HMRC/ Defra approved border control post (BCP) and ERT (bonded warehouse) facility at Fresh Linc’s Spalding headquarters, enabling a speedier movement of product from the ports and extending shelf life by up to 48 hours.

The BCP, which has been in development for the last four months, will be effective from 1 January 2021 and represents a £400,000 (€439,360) investment. This includes the creation of a purpose-built, 10,000 square-foot warehouse with the ability to store 330 pallets; dedicated inspection areas for customs and Defra and the training of four new dedicated staff to run the 24-hour operation.

Q. How has the business changed in light of recent events such as Covid-19?
Covid-19 has been a huge challenge for the business. We have spent a fortune keeping our 70 to 100 employees and contrac- tors safe with gloves, masks, temperature checks and keeping a safe distance. We have foreign lorry drivers delivering loads, and they have to be kept safe too when they come to our facility.

The aviation industry furloughed a lot of staff, and this had a knock-on effect on us in handling freight, not to mention the airlines added a surcharge for Covid-19 – the latter move baffled me.

Q. What has been your greatest achievement/greatest challenge?
Our company started in 2003 and we are in our 18th year now. Our greatest achievement has been to develop a really good team in all areas of the business: sales, operations, adminis- tration. Putting a team together is like getting a football team together. You have talented players and they have to work as a team to succeed. Challenges are ongoing, and the leaders in our industry stay at the top by continuing to challenge themselves. The minute it stops being challenging, I might as well retire.

Q. What do you think the perishable business will look like in a few years, considering the changes? Brexit will thin the industry from a freight aspect. I suspect the big players will get bigger, while the smaller players will struggle. On a company level, we’re planning to develop a purpose-built site, once the lease runs out on our current facility – one that will last for another 20 years.

Q. How do you expect dairy to expand?

British dairy is coming on strong, as we are exporting a lot of cheese all over the world. The rest of the world sees our cheese as a quality product, and I think the dairy industry will grow a lot in exports. In the Middle East, in countries such as Dubai, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and Hong Kong, they love British products, so I expect that area of our business to grow substantially. Long may it last.

Q. What does a typical day look like for you?

It’s always opening hours somewhere with logistics. I was at the office at 5am this morning and starting early to deal with the rest of the world – it never stops. I am always either on email or on the phone, and it can be seven days a week. We opened our doors in 2003 and the doors have never been locked since. In fact, Christmas Day is usually a busy one for us, as we help top-up the supermarket shelves.

Q. Outside of work, what are your hobbies/interests?

I am a family man – I have seven children of varying ages, so they keep me busy. I also like a bit of golf and to watch football.

UK unveils Border Operations Centre: but is it too little too late to avert a Brexit import crisis?

The UK government revealed this week that it has established a border operations centre to monitor the flow of goods and travellers in and out of the country. It’s hoped that the facility will alleviate some of the anticipated border disruption that could last months as the country leaves the single market and customs union.

Regardless of whether there is a post-Brexit trade deal, french authorities will impose full EU customs and controlled goods checks on all goods arriving from Britain from January 1. Current legislation states that all produce must be inspected at its first port of call into the UK.

Ministers fear the checks could lead to queues on this side of the Channel, with the possibility of up to 7,000 lorries waiting for two days in tailbacks. It will also affect the shelf life and route to market of a significant amount of the UK’s fresh produce increasing wastage amounts and CO2 emissions.

These concerns are shared by some of the UK’s key players in the logistics, shipping and import/export industry.

Mike Parr is director of global fresh produce cargo specialists, Perishable Movements Limited (PML). His team has been importing fresh produce from outside of the UK since 2003 and reiterates the concerns raised by ministers.

“We’re so close to Brexit; it’s imperative that the government start addressing key questions if we are to ensure that our borders can cope with leaving the European Union.” 

“Who will be running these facilities and where will they find and train the staff needed to deliver a service that meets the exacting standards of DEFRA inspectors and vets?”

Mike Parr’s comments reflect the wider industry atmospherics that query why the government has failed to call upon the expertise of commercial companies practiced in the day-to-day handling and processing of imported produce.

Earlier in November PML opened it’n new Border Control Post (BCP) in Spalding to streamline and fasttrack its process of importing fresh produce to the UK while future proofing against Brexit chaos for its customers.

“There are a number of purpose built handling facilities across the UK which the government should be using as inspection facilities to relieve the pressure on the UK’s ports. By failing to consult with industry experts, consumers and businesses that work with imported goods face a bleak start to 2021 which will affect national supply chains, transportation links and much more. This is not what the industry needs after a difficult year navigating Covid-19”, added Mike.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves said ministers were “once again” putting the “burden on businesses to prepare for the end of the transition period, when it has not explained what it is those businesses are getting ready for”.

She continued: “The government is rebadging a basic element of preparation but still can’t tell us how many customs agents are recruited or trained or whether crucial IT is ready.

“With glaring questions like these still unanswered, this government must do much more than just ‘demand action’ from UK businesses, already under huge pressure from the pandemic – and instead provide them with some much needed answers.”

Inside PML’s purpose built Border Control Post and DEFRA inspection area

Keeping imported products fresh, clearing customs, DEFRA compliance and a faster route to market, let’s head inside the world of expert logistics and freight movement company Perishable Movements Limited.

It’s been a busy few months, but we’re delighted with our new purpose build Border Control Post (BCP) and DEFRA inspection facility which will keep our clients’ produce fresher for longer and speed up its route to market.

Fully kitted out with scales, magnifying lamps and washing areas, the DEFRA inspection area is completely compliant with UK import customs regulations. It is also set-up to ensure that Covid-19 guidelines as outlined by Public Health England and the UK Government are fully implemented. This includes measures to ensure social distancing can be adhered to by DEFRA inspectors and PML employees. The facility is also cleaned down and sanitised after every inspection.

Inside the Spalding located main warehouse and customs bonded area, you will find a fully approved HM Customs Border Control Post. With the opening of this facility in early November 2020, PML Ltd are able to hold large amounts of uncleared product from the multiple containers and vehicles that arrive at the site throughout the day.

Within the temperature controlled facility, purpose-built equipment such as racking systems are installed to increase capacity for both product awaiting inspection and for product that has passed through the DEFRA inspection area. All produce is kept at the optimum temperature for fresh goods of between 2-4 °C. Any produce that has failed the DEFRA inspection process is stored separately, well away from the other products in the warehouse.

What happens to the produce that fails the DEFRA inspection? As part of PML’s commitment to environmental sustainability and pledge to reduce wastage, all produce that fails DEFRA inspection is taken to an Anaerobic Digestion plant where it is turned into methane to generate electricity.

Want to know how PML can help streamline your freight movement of fresh produce and speed up your perishable goods route to market?

Get in touch:

+44 (0)20 8893 2666 or quotations@pml-ltd.com

PML announces innovative solution to border control delays

PML, the global perishable cargo specialist is partnering with transport and logistics company FreshLinc to operate an HMRC / DEFRA approved Border Control Post (BCP) and ERT (bonded warehouse) facility at Fresh Linc’s Spalding HQ, enabling a speedier movement of product from the ports and extending shelf life by up to 48 hours.

The BCP which has been in development for the last four months, will be effective from 1st January 2021 and represents a £400,000 investment. This includes the creation of a purpose-built 10,000 sq ft warehouse with the ability to store 330 pallets; dedicated inspection areas for customs and DEFRA and the training of four new dedicated staff to run the 24-hour operation.

The decision to set up a BCP away from the ports – Spalding is within easy reach of both Dover and Southampton docks – is in direct response to the ongoing delays and excessive queues which currently impede the onward movement of freight. The imperative to take action is amplified given the specialist and sensitive nature of PML’s cargo – the majority of consignments require temperature-controlled conditions – and the anticipated further disruptions likely to be caused post Brexit.

The long-standing and trusted working relationship between the two companies has enabled a seamless journey from the inception of the idea to create a dedicated BCP at FreshLinc’s 70,000 sq ft site, to completion of all the works required to meet the demanding criteria as defined by HMRC and DEFRA.

“This is a great opportunity for us to work with PML to maintain the continuation of the food supply chain especially against the backdrop of the uncertain times we are now facing as a result of the challenges posed by Brexit and the coronavirus. The BCP is a perfect example of two like-minded businesses coming together to provide an innovative solution to an industry problem.”

Lee Juniper, Operations Director at FreshLinc.

“This venture will enable us to move product much faster from the ports, cut down on wasted journeys and should ultimately deliver a minimum of 24-48 hours additional shelf life on all our customers’ products. Our priority is to guarantee the safe and timely transfer of goods, ensuring that there are no breaks in the cold chain. By creating a remote BCP, we are no longer constrained by the issues at the ports and PML is able to operate and manage its own facility.”

PML Sales Director, Nick Finbow.