The Reality Of The Supply Chain Crisis

Mike Parr, Managing Director PML

Morrisons, Marks & Spencer and The Food & Drink Federation have all publicly commented on the serious supply chain crisis which is threatening the nation. As a leading industry player and provider of world class logistics and supply chain solutions, PML forecast the current scenario and its dire consequences almost 12 months ago.

We are facing these issues on a daily basis.

The HGV driver shortage is paralysing the industry. More needs to be done to support the wellbeing of these important individuals who represent the lifeline to maintaining essential food & drink as well as medical supplies to the UK.

Logistics firms are being hammered with a new ‘driver retention fee’ in addition to the traditional sea freight container charges, which can be as much as £150 per container. This kind of exploitation is only adding to what is already a difficult situation and forcing firms to review their charges to the end customer to allow for these demands.

The government has supposedly prepared importers of perishables so that they are capable of undertaking the complicated paperwork associated with customs clearance post Brexit. It is bordering on ignorance to assume that anyone can navigate their way through the system with no previous experience of this specialist sector. It takes years of training for an import clerk to be up to speed with the detailed and ever changing requirements imposed by DEFRA – including not just the stringent import regulations but also the approval required to collect goods from a transit shed – yet the inference is, that this is just a ‘basic job’ that anyone can turn their hand to. Pointing importers to the government website to help them understand the requirements is just not going to cut it.

I’m afraid I don’t concur with the Prime Minister’s recent assurance that there is no impending crisis regarding food supplies. Sadly, I predict quite the opposite and envisage that by January 2022 nothing short of chaos will reign. The reality is that our industry is more affected by the pandemic now than we were last year, due to the ‘pingdemic’; the growing number of Covid cases requiring personnel to isolate for 10 days and the reluctance of many of our European drivers to be vaccinated.

Combine the HGV driver shortage, the customs clearance issues and the impact of the pandemic and it is plain to see that the country is destined to be facing some very challenging conditions. Surely the government should have seen some of this coming and prepared for these problems? The approach taken by the powers that be seems to be very much reactive rather than proactive – if I ran my business in this way, we would have gone bust.

The latest news is that Britain is poised to delay additional post-Brexit customs checks due to come into force on 1st October,
for the second time amid concerns they could fuel further disruption in the run-up to Christmas.

The fact is, there should be a long-term strategy in place to deal with all of these concerns. Not just for Christmas but in the years ahead …

PML Offers To Fund HGV Driver Training

PML is taking action to address the current acute shortage of HGV drivers
in the UK.

The world-class logistics and supply chain solutions provider is offering to pay for the training of eight dedicated drivers, to be based at both the company’s London Heathrow headquarters as well as the soon to be opened Lympne, Kent facility.

Mike Parr, managing director of PML has announced that the company will, if necessary, finance the complete training for the right candidates, as long as the applicants are able to demonstrate PML’s hallmark commitment to the highest standard of customer service.

PML has previously voiced its concerns over the welfare of drivers, supporting Logistics UK’s comments regarding the banning of lorry parking for more than 45 minutes at a time in laybys across Kent and responding with news of the upcoming operation at Lympne which will provide vital safe parking and additional welfare facilities.

Commenting, Mike Parr said, “The HGV driver shortage is reaching crisis point and the knock-on effect of this impacting on the supply of essential fresh produce and pharmaceutical goods is something that we at PML predicted six months ago. Lorry drivers responsible for delivering vital food and pharmacy supplies are without doubt essential workers, and we ensure that that as such, they are well rewarded when they join the company, not only by a favourable package of benefits but also in terms of providing best-in-class facilities for them to access whilst they are working to ensure their continued physical and mental wellbeing.”

Anyone interested in joining PML as an HGV driver should contact
recruitment@pml-ltd.com.

PML promotes Richard Hoyte to Technical Director

Perishable Movements Ltd (PML) has promoted Richard Hoyte to the role of Technical Director.

Richard, who first joined the company in 2010 as a Warehouse Manager, has progressed within the business during his 11-year tenure working his way up to the position of Production and Transport Manager prior to his promotion.

In addition to the vast experience gained at PML, Richard previously spent seven years working for another large fresh produce handler, a role which included overseeing the efficient distribution of produce for The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme in the South of England.

Originally from Barbados, Richard came to the UK in 1985 where he spent 15 years in the manufacturing sector.

The newly created position at PML will see Richard assuming responsibility for a total staff of 50 including the company’s transport and warehouse and packing managers. He will work alongside his fellow directors at a strategic level to maintain PML’s commitment to constantly improving the efficiency and standard of service for which the company is renowned.

A key priority for Richard will be ensuring the technical systems and procedures which are currently in place at the Heathrow HQ are seamlessly rolled out at PML’s new satellite operation in Kent – where he will be based one day a week.

Commenting on the promotion, Richard said, “PML has an excellent track record for developing its staff and I’m delighted to have been given this opportunity to further hone the company’s proven technical capabilities associated with its credentials as a leading player in the transfer of temperature-sensitive goods. PML’s is committed to investing in new technologies to offer best in class solutions to its customers and I’m
looking forward to playing an even stronger role in helping to identify, source and introduce further future proof innovations which will strengthen the company’s status as the global perishable cargo specialist.”

Response to HMRC Decision for Dover Lorry Clearance Park

Perishable Movements Ltd – the provider of world-class logistics and supply chain solutions – has responded to the recent news that plans for a 1,200-lorry customs clearance park in Dover have been overhauled.

HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) has now made dramatic changes to the original scheme, resulting in a facility that is a quarter of what was originally anticipated (space for just 96 lorries and 20 extra spaces for reversing trucks) without the anticipated Border Control Post (BCP which would have covered out physical health checks on chilled and frozen food. HMRC will now only conduct the required customs paperwork checks at the site with the additional physical inspections being moved to a further site at Whitfield.

“PML wishes to reassure all those involved in the transfer of perishable cargo that while works at the Dover site have yet to begin (building is not due to start until February or March 2022), PML is already well underway with the refurbishment of its recently acquired 100,000 sq. foot site at nearby Lympne which will have the capacity to park up to 60 trailers in its first stage of the development, with scope for a further 40 in stage two.

PML will also be applying for remote HMRC / DEFRA approved BCP status at the site to enable physical checks and has the capacity to unload 14 lorries at any one time – whilst retaining temperature-controlled conditions – ensuring a streamline and seamless transit of consignments out of the Port of Dover.

The PML Lympne facility is sited on a business park, thus minimising disruption to residents and is being developed without any detrimental impact to any local heritage sites (the Dover lorry park would have originally destroyed an ancient Roman way). In addition to providing an efficient and smooth operation, with no breaks in the cold chain, the extensive development of the site will include superb additional amenities for HGV drivers, who for far too long, have been denied access to vital safe parking and general welfare facilities. We anticipate the site will be operational from the end of October although at this point, we are unable to advise of a date for confirmation of BCP status as this is out of our hands. However, rest assured, PML will be working tirelessly to progress this.

At a time when HGV drivers are under such tremendous pressure, PML is doing everything in its power to demonstrate a duty of care to these essential workers, enabling them to fulfil their driving responsibilities and offering a speedy, safe, and ultimately, comfortable route out of Dover.”

The Adoption of Big Data and Analytics in Logistics Companies

According to research from BluJay Solutions, customer experience is set to become the driving force for supply chain innovation, and with that logistics companies must undergo a technological transformation to improve their use of big data and analytics.


With the onset of the ‘now economy’, customer expectations surrounding product
availability, delivery times, and communication between buyer and seller are continuing to grow, straining the logistics industry, and pushing for a greater need to use big data to become elastic in their service offering.

Value to the customer can come from improvements made through the exclusive use of internal data. Tracking vehicle data is one internal source that can help unlock this value. Through tracking shipments, product availability can be improved across both brick-and- mortar and e-commerce settings, giving customers improved choices. In addition, last-mile delivery tracking can allow adaptive delivery time estimates to be provided to customers, helping them effectively plan for the acceptance of goods.
Internal data though is limited in both its volume and nature.

For companies to truly harness the power of big data they should consider pulling data from a diverse network of sources. By factoring in local weather, geopolitical, and social commentary data, logistics companies can more accurately predict demand and react elastically to this. Consider perhaps issues surrounding the performance of refrigerated delivery trucks in different weather conditions. Through big data, combining internal tracking data of vehicles and external weather data, companies can implement route plans for vehicles that maximise efficiency whilst ensuring products do not go over threshold temperatures.


Logistic companies can also use an elastic service offering if they can predict the peaks and troughs of demand, based on external consumer data, helping to reduce unnecessary expenditure. This complex network of external data requires collaboration between partners if a true end-to-end data set is to be established. Without this, the adoption of big data by logistics companies could become a cumbersome and inaccurate endeavour. A true network of data will allow manufacturers to fully integrate with suppliers giving them information about shipping status, inventory, demand, and capacity.

If suppliers know the demand of a manufacturer over the next quarter, they can scale up and down production, and if logistics companies know the demand, they can plan accordingly to ensure they provide the necessary services.

For businesses to achieve the success they must assure that the data they collect, and use is accurate. External data may provide some organisations with uncertainty as they may not be able to assess its accuracy. Based on this the World Economic Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Production have devised a framework for organisations to benchmark themselves against in their adoption of advanced technology and data. This has opened the door for new partnerships to be formed for data sharing and collaboration across the supply chain.

PML establishes Kent operation to create 30+ jobs

PML invest £3.5m in the purchase of a 100,000 square foot satellite site in Lympne, Kent.

Over 30 office and warehouse jobs are to be created following a decision by global perishable cargo specialist Perishable Movements Ltd (PML) to set up a new satellite operation at Lympne Distribution Park. This facility will sit alongside PML’s main operations at Heathrow and its additional site at Spalding. In addition to providing employment opportunities to the local area, the company’s move to establish a Kent base will also have a considerable positive impact on the local infrastructure, reducing delays on the roads within the area, caused by queuing freight traffic.

The forward-thinking company has invested around £3.5m in the purchase of a 100,000 square foot satellite site in Lympne, which of course represents a prime location for hauliers given its excellent proximity to the motorway network, Channel Tunnel and the ports (Dover and Folkestone). This will enable PML to provide its customers with the opportunity to capitalise on an alternative route in and out of Heathrow, representing a seamless, efficient freight forwarding service which does not attract the charges / penalties associated with using the roads within the Greater London area affected by the new LEZ standards. The company also plans to apply for remote HMRC / DEFRA approved Border Control Post (BCP) status to enable a faster transit of consignments out of the Port of Dover (which currently does not have a BCP). The Lympne site will enable PML customers to avoid the excessive well documented delays associated with freight traffic in and out of Dover and therefore extend the shelf life of any temperature sensitive cargo (which represents PML’s core business), by up to 4 hours.

The 24/7 operation which will handle daily consignments of food – for packing, loading and unloading – should be up and running by end September. The business anticipates the new facility has the capacity to process 80-100 truck movements per day in its first phase of operation – which will focus on refrigerated goods only. 

PML’s latest venture comprises two impressive purpose-built cold stores, 14 dock levellers to enable safe and time efficient loading and offloading, expansive parking (for up to 60 trailers) and generous office space. The company plans to spend around £1m on refurbishments to bring the building up to its exacting standards and to ensure best practice in the handling of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and flowers. This will include the creation of dedicated inspection areas and offices for customers.

Commenting on the decision to create a base at Kent, managing director Mike Parr said, “Our new site is located just two miles from Junction 11 of the M20 and really couldn’t offer a more desirable location.

In addition to proximity to the ports and Heathrow, we anticipate that haulage drivers will also appreciate the efficient and seamless service we will be able to deliver, enabling them to leave the trailer onsite while they take a rest break, as opposed to sitting in a queue worrying about the lengthy delays which could seriously impact on the condition of their perishable cargo – and of course adds to major delays on Kent’s roads. We are keen to become an active member of the local community and will be providing employment opportunities at a time when many people have suffered financially as a result of the pandemic.

Anyone wishing to find out details of the jobs that are on offer should contact recruitment@pml-ltd.com.”

PML CREATES NEW SALES MANAGER ROLE


Perishable Movements Ltd (PML) has promoted Simon Hanley to the role of Sales Manager.

The global perishable cargo specialist has created the position following the company’s significant growth and in light of the business’s expansion to offer its services out of Spalding and – the most recent acquisition – Lympne, Kent, alongside the existing head office at Heathrow.


Hanley, who joined PML five years ago, has been promoted from his previous role as Business Development Manager. During his tenure with the business, he has acquired experience working across all aspects of the company’s air, sea, road, import and export operations. Prior to his initial appointment at PML, Hanley was working in the ambient freight forwarding sector.

Simon Hanley promoted to the role of Sales Manager at PML


The Sales Manager position will see Hanley managing a team of four and reporting directly to Sales Director Nick Finbow. He is charged with a remit of growing the Spalding and Kent facilities and further developing PML’s air freight exports, with a specific focus on companies looking to export their perishable goods to the Middle and Far East. Although based at Heathrow, Hanley will also be spending a significant amount of time at the company’s two additional sites.


Commenting on the promotion, Hanley said, “Working at PML has opened up many opportunities for me. I joined the company because I was attracted to the progressive working environment here. It’s a flat organisation so there’s no room for protracted discussions and excessive bureaucracy, decisions are made quickly to enable everyone to move forward with their roles. If you present a compelling case for a particular activity, the senior management team is incredibly supportive and receptive to new initiatives. I’m looking forward to the fresh challenges this position represents and relish the prospect of being part of PML’s continued success and established recognition as an industry leader, success that is befitting of the clear commitment to forward thinking and continuous re-investment in the business.”

PML tackling the Carbon Emissions target

PML Article in Focus Feature July 2021

This month #PML‘s Mike Parr is a guest contributor to the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport’s magazine to talk about tackling the carbon emissions target.

Perishable Movements Ltd (PML), the global perishable cargo specialist, is taking a proactive approach to reducing the company’s carbon emissions. For a business that is focused on the transfer of temperature sensitive cargo by air, road and sea, this is a sizeable challenge and one which requires a matched input from those responsible for addressing the emissions associated with these modes of transport.

For its part, PML has researched the opportunity to switch to electric trucks, as well as reviewing the potential to move to more sustainable fuel types. To date, despite investing considerable time to seek out suitable alternatives, the options remain very limited and are currently not commercially viable.

As of 1 st April of this year, the entire fleet of PML trucks (which amounts to 9 artics) are Euro VI compliant, which represents a positive step towards controlling carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions.

The Sales Director has taken delivery of an electric company car and as and when company car renewals arise, PML will look at a shift toward electric or at least hybrid vehicles. This is despite the hefty price tag associated with such purchases, an investment that is worthwhile given the clear benefits to the environment.

Our 64,000 square foot warehouse regularly receives and packs consignments of food and as such, generates a substantial amount of cardboard and polythene-based packaging. The business now recycles all of its cardboard and polythene to minimise the contribution to landfill and maximise the potential to reuse these materials.

As a logistics business, we have a significant number of employees who are charged with providing administrative support. The back office to PML’s operations is essential to its success and while it may not be able to fully address the emissions targets via our transport teams, the office is making great strides in adopting new environmentally friendly practices.

At our Heathrow headquarters, we have taken the decision to change 80% of our lighting to being motion-sensor driven, resulting in a reduction in electricity consumption which in turn, will negatively impact on the business’s carbon emissions footprint.

Looking ahead, PML is about to take on a new facility outside of the Heathrow area and we are proud to confirm that these premises will be featuring solar panels which will also help to reduce electricity usage and therefore will contribute to a drop in carbon emissions.

PML is focused on looking at further ways in which to operate as an environmentally responsible business and will continue to adopt new practices which will enable it to deliver against the sustainability agenda. However, this is surely an area where the industry needs to unite to instigate real change?

We would advocate that an industry-wide initiative is launched which specifically targets the need to tackle carbon emissions, which enables us to work with those involved in providing the vehicles which we are so reliant on. Manufacturers of trucks need to feel reassured that there is a genuine appetite for change and more needs to be done to ensure that there are financial incentives for investing in eco-friendly modes of transport which will go towards offsetting the initial inflated upfront payment.

There needs to be clearer thinking about we work together to improve emissions. We’ve already seen a clear example of how the push towards demonstrating clear commitment to environmental concerns can sometimes be at the expense of failing to recognise a detrimental effect on a whole industry sector. The Mayor of London’s decision to extend the Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) to make it tougher for heavier vehicles to drive within the Greater London area – including Heathrow – has effectively rendered Heathrow’s mission to become an equal to Paris CDG and Amsterdam (in terms of airfreight) impossible. The excessive charges associated with the LEZ combined with the eye-watering penalty fees has resulted in a number of European hauliers refusing to come to Heathrow. So, while the Mayor’s emissions target will benefit, this is at an unacceptably high price for the industry. For PML, this latest attempt to deal with emissions has made it untenable to extend our operations in Heathrow. Dealing with emissions we wholeheartedly agree with. But this needs to be implemented with clear proof of joined up thinking which can only be achieved if the industry is invited to collaborate with those making the decisions.

PML SETS UP SATELLITE OPERATION IN KENT

PML invest £3.5m in the purchase of a 100,000 square foot satellite site in Lympne, Kent.

Following the ensuing radio silence post a letter to the Mayor
of London Sadiq Khan challenging the crippling effect that extending the
Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) will have on its business, global perishable
cargo specialist Perishable Movements Ltd (PML) has taken the decision to
move some of its operations out to Kent.

PML invest £3.5m in the purchase of a 100,000 square foot satellite site in Lympne, Kent.
PML invest £3.5m in the purchase of a 100,000 square foot satellite site in Lympne, Kent.


The forward-thinking company has invested around £3.5m in the purchase of a 100,000 square foot satellite site in Lympne, which represents a prime location for hauliers given its excellent proximity to the motorway network, Channel Tunnel and the ports (Dover and Folkestone). This will enable PML to provide its customers with the
opportunity to capitalise on an alternative route in and out of Heathrow, representing a seamless, efficient freight forwarding service which does not attract the charges / penalties associated with using the roads within the Greater London area affected by the new LEZ standards.

PML unveils new road freight depot in Kent: let’s head inside . . .

The company plans to apply for remote HMRC / DEFRA approved Border
Control Post (previously known as a Border Inspection Post (BIP) status
to enable a faster transit of consignments out of the Port of Dover (which
currently does not have a BCP). The move signals a significant industry
development, enabling PML customers to avoid the excessive well
documented delays associated with freight traffic in and out of Dover and
therefore extend the shelf life of any temperature sensitive cargo (which
represents PML’s core business), by up to 4 hours.


PML signed contracts on the new warehouse on 28th May 2021 and
anticipates that once the necessary refurbishments have been
undertaken, the 24/7 operation which will handle daily consignments of
food – for packing, loading and unloading – will be up and running in 16
weeks. The business anticipates the new facility has the capacity to
process 80-100 truck movements per day in its first phase of operation –
which will focus on refrigerated goods only. This figure will increase
during Phase 2 – which is likely to be in 18 months’ time – when ambient
cargo will also be incorporated.


Sited at Lympne Distribution Park, PML’s latest venture comprises two
impressive purpose-built cold stores, 14 dock levellers to enable safe and
time efficient loading and offloading, expansive parking (for up to 60
trailers) and generous office space. The company plans to spend around
£1m on refurbishments to bring the building up to its exacting standards and to ensure best practice in the handling of fruit, meat, fish and flowers. This will include the creation of dedicated inspection areas and offices for customers.


The satellite site is likely to attract favour with the local community, not
just as a result of the 30+ office and warehouse jobs that will be created
but also because of the positive impact PML’s operations will have on
reducing delays on the roads within the area, caused by queuing freight
traffic.


Commenting on the news, managing director Mike Parr said, “This is a
massive step for PML and once again demonstrates our commitment to
spearheading new initiatives which challenge the status quo. The new site
is located just two miles from Junction 11 of the M20 and really couldn’t
offer a more desirable location. In addition to proximity to the ports and
Heathrow, we anticipate that haulage drivers will also appreciate the
efficient and seamless service we will be able to deliver, enabling them to
leave the trailer onsite while they take a rest break, as opposed to sitting
in a queue worrying about the lengthy delays which could seriously
impact on the condition of their perishable cargo. This will be a totally
unique facility – there is nothing else that compares with it in the area –
and we are excited to be the force behind such a major industry
development.”

Is the lack of HGV parking facilities in Kent having a detrimental effect on HGV drivers?

This week Logistics UK has voiced concern over new rules on lorry drivers parking in Kent laybys and the adverse affect this is having on driver welfare. Mike Parr, Director at Perishable Movements Limited issued this statement earlier today

This week Logistics UK has voiced concern over new rules on lorry drivers parking in Kent laybys and the adverse affect this is having on driver welfare.

Mike Parr, Director at Perishable Movements Limited issued this statement earlier today:

“PML whole-heartedly supports the over-arching concerns of Logistics UK, regarding the banning of lorry parking for more than 45 minutes at a time in laybys across several areas of Kent, which effectively reduces the opportunity for drivers to take the legally required rest period.

No driver would opt for a layby as their first choice for a rest break, we’d always recommend drivers park up in a location which represents a safe and secure stopping point, preferably with easy access to suitable toilet and wash facilities and of course, a good meal. With such a significant shortage of HGV parking facilities in Kent, these drivers have limited options at the moment and while we appreciate Kent County Council don’t want to have lorries blocking laybys, surely more needs to be done to provide these drivers – who are the lifeline to maintaining essential food & drink as well as medical supplies to the UK – with a more fit for purpose parking solution?

As a leading player in the efficient transfer of perishable cargo we believe this is an important industry issue that needs addressing as a matter of urgency.

PML is currently working on a plan to resolve the problems in Kent.

Watch this space ….”

Read the Fresh Produce Journal article in full here: Kent parking row deepens haulage gloom