Opening Monday!

Opening Monday!

PML Ltd are delighted to announce that on Monday 13th December 2021 the new Kent satellite operation and logistics hub will be open. 

PML, the provider of world-class logistics and supply chain solutions has set up the new satellite operation at Lympne Distribution Park.  

The forward-thinking company has invested around £6.5m in the purchase of a 40,000 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.  

The company has remote HRMC / DEFRA-approved Border Control Post status to enable a faster transit of consignments out of the Port of Dover.  

The opening of the site 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). 

PML signed contracts on the new warehouse in Sept and has completed the necessary refurbishments ready in time to deal with the issues Brexit will bring. 

The 24/7 operation which will handle daily consignments of food – for packing, loading and unloading – will be up and running ON MONDAY 13th DEC 2021!  

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, it comprises of 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.  This will include the creation of dedicated inspection areas and offices for customers and DEFRA personnel to access.  

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 launch, 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, 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.”


Supply Chain Challenges – SUPPORT OUR DRIVERS

Worldwide air cargo operations struggling to cope with the backlog …”

Onward forwarding of cargo in turmoil resulting in food supplies left on the airside apron at Heathrow…”

Low emission zone charges at Heathrow triggering a move to switching to other European airports such as Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, and Paris…”

Lack of trained staff post furlough scheme redundancies impacting on seamless transfer – and causing heightened security risk…”

Massive price hike on cost of shipping containers – and serious depletion of availability…”

Despite the assurances of our government, the reality is that those involved in the supply chain for essential food and drink are facing dire operational challenges and looking at the current situation, these are only likely to worsen as we edge towards Christmas and the New Year.

Try buying a new lorry to add to your fleet of vehicles in an effort to improve efficiency. It is nigh on impossible. And the shortage of HGV drivers who are so instrumental key to ensuring the onward smooth transfer from air or ship remains a critical issue, despite the various initiatives that have been put in place. And even when new drivers are recruited, there is a clear lag between them being a newly qualified driver, and the employer feeling sufficiently confident that they are ready and capable of taking on long-distance journeys.

For those drivers already in the system, morale is low, and many are choosing to seek alternative, less stressful employment.

HGV drivers have traditionally been treated badly in this country. While I have every sympathy and utter admiration for the challenges faced by NHS staff who have led the UK’s response to Covid-19, it’s a shame that the same level of respect is not directed at the drivers who have continued to work tirelessly to ensure the nation has access to essential food supplies.

Suicide rates amongst HGV drivers are 20% higher than the national average. 75% of all suicides are male, like the overwhelming majority of truck drivers. Spending endless hours alone in the cab, on the road, alone with their own thoughts, these drivers are high risk. Add to that the heightened sense of urgency to get consignments from A to B to make up for so many other delays and it’s not difficult to see that this is a stressful occupation. Not to mention the fact that HGV drivers regularly face abuse when trying to park their vehicles and they are constantly at risk of a break-in and/or attempts by migrant stowaways to seek refuge in the vehicle.

And yet what are the thanks that these invaluable workers receive for their efforts? Being stranded for hours without food and water because of port delays? Struggling to find somewhere to get a good night’s sleep because of the limited parking facilities that welcome HGV drivers. Experiencing problems to access the most basic of human rights – somewhere with clean toilets, a dedicated wash and shower facility and the ability to buy a nutritious hearty hot dinner.

With the increasing pressures that are being placed on the HGV driver community as a result of the ongoing serious delays at both sea and airports, isn’t it time the UK woke up to the fact that our drivers literally hold the key to putting food on the table this Christmas?

This country is in for a very bumpy ride in the foreseeable future. Don’t believe the politicians who refer to a 24-point plan or strategize that research is underway to address the problems. The supply chain industry needs properly planned solutions, not knee-jerk reactions to every crisis.

And part of this must be an improved appreciation for the outstanding efforts of our HGV drivers.

PML is committed to raising the standard of driver welfare. Way ahead of any of the platitudes put forward by government officials we’ve been planning a state-of-the-art facility conducive to driver needs.

Action not words is what counts.

Mike Parr, MD PML Ltd

PML Expands Lorry Fleet

Perishable Movements Ltd (PML), the global provider of world-class logistics and supply chain solutions, is more than quadrupling its fleet of lorries to cater for the growing demand for the company’s services as the no1 player in the transfer of perishable goods.

By the end of 2021, PML will have taken delivery of 14 new trucks (four DAF and 10 IVECO), with a further 20 new vehicles scheduled for delivery in 2022. All lorries will feature impactful branding and are compliant with the latest Euro V1 emission standards / are D.V.S. Compliant. The substantial increase in the number of vehicles in the PML fleet represents a total investment of £2.5m.

All of the trucks are destined for PML’s new state-of-the-art facility at Lympne, Kent which is due to open January 2022.

Commenting on the investment, Nick Finbow, Sales Director said, “Once again, PML is reinvesting in the business to ensure it can continue to offer the highest standard of customer service, combining exemplary industry knowledge and expertise with the very best technology and innovation. We remain resolute in our commitment to stay ahead of the curve and to future-proof our business, this investment is just another example of PML’s forward-thinking – and the company’s ability to quickly respond to its customers’ needs.”

On Friday 3rd December the first 4 new trucks from Tim Houghton of FVTH Ltd arrived at PML Kent.

Ryan Parr awarded the prestigious Industry Hero award

Operations Director Ryan Parr picked up the Industry Hero award from this year’s FPC Fresh Awards, which were presented on Friday 19th November at London’s Old Billingsgate venue.

On the nomination for Ryan, Nick Finbow said: “Ryan is a major asset to the business, he demonstrates ambition, staunch commitment and incredible drive on a daily basis. These attributes are balanced with excellent interpersonal skills, integrity and a genuine desire to maintain the happy, harmonious working environment for which PML is renowned.”

A little about Ryan and his tremendous contribution to the PML business:
Ryan joined PML in June 2013 at the age of 18 and in the eight years that he has been in the business, he has already packed in a considerable number of achievements.  

Ryan has worked across many areas of the company to gain a strong understanding of the global logistics sector and his enthusiasm and hunger to learn are exemplary. During his tenure with PML, Ryan has evolved from a young school leaver to a highly competent manager who was recently been promoted to the role of Operations Director at the tender age of 25, making him the youngest Director in the company’s 18-year history.

As Operations Director, Ryan assumes responsibility for all of PML’s extensive operations as an import/export logistics business specialising in the transfer of temperature-sensitive freight by air, road and sea. Due to the considerable scale of the company, Ryan has 12 managers reporting directly to him, a role that few 25-year-olds would be capable of taking on. Not only has Ryan risen to the challenge, but he has also excelled in his new position, taking such a significant promotion completely in his stride.

When the full impact of the global coronavirus crisis began to play out, the service operated by PML became pivotal to the continued trading of businesses involved in the import and export of produce.

Ryan’s role was critical to PML’s ability to operate a full service throughout the pandemic and to mastermind the company’s response to overcoming the ensuing travel restrictions. He was responsible for coordinating between 10 and 20 trucks a day to facilitate the safe arrival of produce that would previously have been transferred by air. Similarly, Ryan was accountable for identifying three to four flights a day out of the UK and Europe, to enable the export of goods from this country.

Thanks to Ryan’s innovative thinking and his refusal to accept defeat, not a single client was compromised, and every consignment was successfully delivered to its intended destination.

Although he excels in managing his team, Ryan still enjoys actively immersing himself in new projects. He was responsible for identifying the advantages associated with the investment in a metal detection scanner – a technology that has proved beneficial in further improving the screening of meat exports handled by PML – ensuring the business maintains its established reputation for implementing the very highest standards of food hygiene.

Ryan was also heavily involved in the introduction of a brand-new IT system that operates across the business. 

It is this ability to immerse himself in additional assignments outside of his core responsibilities, without jeopardizing efficiency or productivity, that makes Ryan stand out from the crowd.

Ryan’s extensive list of accreditations belies his age. He is fully Health & Safety trained, an approved Fire Marshall, holds a Forklift license, is qualified to use the company’s X-ray and metal detection screeners, holds a Level 3 in Health Critical training, holds a Level G in security manager training. He is also fully import, export and sea freight compliant and has undertaken comprehensive management training.

Richard Hoyte wins FPC Fresh Awards Manager of the Year!

On Friday evening Richard Hoyte was presented with the FPC Fresh Awards for the Manager of the Year at London’s Old Billingsgate.

Presented on stage at the award event Richard collected his well-deserved prize.

The presentation for Richard:

Richard has been with PML for ten years and has quickly proved himself to be a major asset to the business. His hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence have delivered substantial tangible results and his continued focus on innovation and improvement have established him as a highly valued member of the team.

Specifically, we’d like to draw attention to Richard’s following outstanding achievements:

  • Richard successfully navigated PML’s packhouse (which handles between 6,000 – 12,000 cases per day) to achieve recognition under the BRC Global Stand for Food Safety Certification, issue 7 and most recently issue 8. Thanks to Richard’s diligence and unwavering high standards for the last two (unannounced) audits, the company has secured an AA+ rating (the highest accolade possible) with just 3 minors on each audit. The updated issue 8 standard takes into consideration new risks and revised legislation and practices intended to improve food safety and PML has been very quick to secure this latest certification, largely due to Richard’s drive to ensure PML’s packing facility is always leading the field
  • Richard’s leadership in the packing facility has enabled the company to improve productivity in this critical area of the business which in turn has triggered a reduction in the number of personnel required to successfully run the operation. This has resulted in an associated positive outcome for PML’s customers since there has been a notable reduction in rate increases
  • Richard has drawn upon his knowledge and experience to research and introduce new ideas and new equipment / new machinery to further enhance productivity and enable departments to work seamlessly, ultimately improving the supply chain
  • Richard’s natural positivity and passion for the role, combined with a flair for galvanising and supporting his colleagues have created a fantastic close-knit team whose enthusiasm and motivation is second to none
  • Richard has worked hard to develop his staff to help them realise their full potential within the business. He is a strong advocate for internal promotion and has therefore created a positive culture within his department, mapping out a clear route for personal development and effectively demonstrating that progress up the ladder is possible
  • Richard has been responsible for the implementation of a dedicated QC department at PML enabling the business to add this facility to its portfolio of services to customers
  • In addition to maximising productivity, Richard is acutely sensitive to the need to keep department costs down and has taken practical steps to realise this goal.  He has taken the time to learn how to effectively maintain the machinery in the packhouse and is therefore capable of fixing any minor issues himself – minimising the need to call upon the services of an external maintenance engineer and the additional expense linked to this AND therefore ensuring there is no unnecessary disruption to customer orders
  • PML takes pride in its ability to offer a flexible service that fits around customer needs. Richard is an excellent ambassador for PML’s ‘can do’ approach. He always shows nothing less than 100% commitment to completing a task, even when last-minute changes are thrown at him, he remains calm and focused on achieving the desired end result for the customer
  • Richard is an inspiration to his staff. He sets high standards for the team but is never afraid of rolling up his sleeves and getting involved in a variety of tasks himself – from helping to pack, lifting boxes and driving the fork truck – to ensure that the job gets done on time and in budget. ‘If I want somebody to do something, I have to be able to do it’ is Richard’s mantra
  • Richard’s exceptional knowledge, experience and enthusiasm have allowed him to engage more with our customers in relation to their specific contract requirements. This liaison role effectively frees up members of the senior team who are able to focus their efforts on higher-level activities
  • As part of his transport duties, Richard is responsible for keeping all the lorries in good working order, ensuring that insurance, licenses etc are up to date. He was involved in the introduction of the new lorries featuring the roller bed system which enhances productivity but also provides a safer working environment for staff
  • Richard is a genuine, highly likeable character, a true gentleman whose loyalty to PML is never in question. He embodies the company’s commitment to setting the benchmark for excellence in customer service and is an inspiration to not just his own team but to all members of the PML family

Richard’s role has been critical in developing PML’s supply chain to offer an improved service to its customers. With a staff of around 60-80, Richard has looked at the workings of each department and identified potential strategies to further reduce the supply chain – by introducing new equipment, machinery, reducing external costs etc – which provides PML with an even stronger selling proposition.

Any changes made have always been balanced with the need to uphold PML’s commitment to handling fresh produce with the greatest of care and to delivering a superior service. The safety and welfare of staff have also been central to any recommendations made by Richard, as evidenced by the decision to introduce new trucks featuring a roller bed system which represent a safer approach to loading/unloading goods.

The bigger picture 

As a leading force in the global transportation of perishable goods, PML is paving the way and establishing the accepted standard for best practice within the fresh produce industry and the packhouse/transport operations are an excellent example of this. 

Packing and transportation are obviously at the heart of the PML service and the company would have not earned its renowned reputation without demonstrating such a commitment to excellence in this area.

By maximising productivity and minimising expenses (both in terms of human capital and external maintenance costs), the operations that Richard oversees have greatly influenced the overall profitability of the company and been pivotal in enhancing PML’s supply chain offering.

Summary 

Richard has worked tirelessly to support PML and we believe that this award would enable the company to demonstrate its heartfelt thanks for his exceptional loyalty, sheer hard work and unquestionable commitment over the last 10 years.

Key Appointment for PML Kent

James Tinkler has been appointed Site Manager of PML’s new satellite transport and logistics hub based at Lympne, Kent.

Tinkler brings a wealth of experience to the role having spent the last five years as International Planning Manager for a company that specialised in the distribution of international imports and exports to and from the UK. Prior to this position, Tinkler worked for 20 years with a temperature-controlled logistics provider responsible for delivering distribution (by road) and warehousing solutions to support the UK food supply chain.

The newly created position at PML’s soon-to-launch Kent operation offers Tinkler the opportunity to draw upon his existing expertise which includes setting up a brand-new distribution depot, but also offers significant scope for progression and development, based on PML’s established credentials as a road/sea/air logistics provider servicing both the UK and overseas markets.

As Site Manager for PML Kent, Tinkler will report directly to the main board of directors and will assume responsibility for an anticipated workforce of approximately 35 staff, which includes three dedicated transport planners. Recruitment at the Kent site is well underway, with four customs clerks and six HGV drivers already in place.

Tinkler will be charged with ultimately ensuring the seamless 24/7 operation of all road freight operations at Kent, which which will handle daily consignments of refrigerated food – for packing, loading, and unloading – with a planned 80-100 truck movements per day in the first phase of its official opening. 

PML Kent has already attracted significant attention within the industry, hailing a dynamic and forward-thinking solution to the current issues facing HGV drivers. The Lympne based represents an ideal geographical location with close proximity to Dover, Channel Tunnel, and the motorway, and exempt from the punishing charges imposed by the extension of the Low Emission Zone. The site is destined to provide best-in-class facilities for drivers – facilities which the government has recently acknowledged are seriously lacking in the UK (especially in comparison with Europe).

Commenting on his appointment, Tinkler said, “I’m delighted to be joining PML, whose reputation for excellence is renowned within the industry. I have been impressed by the company’s consistent ability to stay ahead of the curve and flourish, regardless of the challenging conditions that have prevailed over the last 18 months. The strong senior management team has a clear vision to ensure the long-term success of the business and I’m pleased to have the opportunity to feature within the planned growth and development of PML. In particular, I am looking forward to being associated with a number of pivotal initiatives with a genuine emphasis on driver welfare – something which has long been lacking in our sector. My job is to work with the team to establish PML Kent as the best facility in Kent – or even the UK – thanks to the planned superior driver experience; superb location; extensive transport and trans-shipment solutions and unrivaled customs expertise.”

PML Poised To Expand European Customer Base

Perishable Movements Ltd (PML), the provider of world-class logistics and supply chain solutions, has appointed Alessandra Tagliabue to the newly created role of Business Development Manager for Europe.

Tagliabue, who has an established and proven track record in sales – in terms of both identifying and successfully converting prospects – joins the company following a micro business unit leadership position with a globally recognised market leader in private healthcare.  Prior to this, she worked predominantly in Spain – where she spent the last eight years applying her honed new business and sales skills within the logistics and import/export sector.

A highly competent linguist who is fluent in French, Spanish, Italian and English,  with direct experience of working with customers across Europe, Tagliabue is well placed to help drive the growth and expansion of PML’s operations within the European market.

Commenting on her appointment, Tagliabue said, “I’m delighted to be joining such a progressive organisation and relish the prospect of playing a pivotal role in PML’s continued success. I have been impressed by the company’s clear credentials as a category leader, regularly demonstrating its ability to stay ahead of the curve by implementing innovative and future perfect solutions to the myriad challenges facing the logistics and supply chain industry. I am excited to be part of a business that boasts an excellent record for staff retention, largely due to the easy access to a pathway for progression for those who wish to further develop their careers with the company. My main mission will be to promote PML’s new Kent transport and logistics hub, a state-of-the-art operation that represents a highly attractive proposition to European customers, offering a seamless and efficient gateway for companies looking to bring perishable and non-perishable goods into the UK.”

Tagliabue is physically based in the Midlands but will be making regular visits to PML’s headquarters in Heathrow and the Lympne, Kent site.

Proposed Changes To Cabotage Tantamount To Modern Slavery

PML’s response to the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps comments on Good Morning Britain, 15.10.21

Mike Parr, managing director of PML – Perishable Movements Ltd – appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on the 15 th of October 2021, to offer his viewpoint on the proposed changes to the HGV driver regulations.

The UK government is planning to temporarily amend cabotage rules – which currently requires HGV drivers from the EU to only spend seven days in the UK, with permission to stop up to twice to deliver goods or collect more. Under the new rules which could be in place for six months, EU drivers will be able to stay for two weeks and will have no restrictions on the number of stops they can make. Ministers claim the move will alleviate the current supply chain issues, offering a faster solution than increasing the number of drivers which is hindered by the lengthy training process and / or dependent on attracting existing drivers back into the industry.

Speaking on TV, Parr expressed his concerns regarding the human costs associated with the relaxation of the current rules which will result in over-worked drivers.

“This amounts to modern slavery, you’re putting the general public at risk, you’re putting the drivers at risk, somebody needs to be held accountable if thing do go wrong and unfortunately, there could possibly be fatalities. That has to be stopped”.

Grant Shapps MP subsequently dismissed Parr’s claims, implying that the new plan – which is intended to be in place before Christmas – carried no risk for drivers or the general public. Mr Shapps cited the Working Time Directive as the reason why the drivers wouldn’t be able to work for extended hours, saying “there’s no chance of people being able to drive longer hours than anyone domestically”.

PML’s response to the blatant rebuttal of any safety concerns is summarised below:

  • The Working Time Directive does not stop European drivers putting in longer driving hours when they are in the UK. As long as their hours average out over the 17-week period it will, for example, be possible for them to drive for three days of 15 hours and two days of 12 hours as long as the hours average out when they return to their homeland. The whole area of driver hours is very difficult to police because of the fact that hours are reviewed over a time period enabling drivers to effectively ‘roll hours ‘over
  • Under the proposed plans, it will also be possible for drivers to take on back-to-back drops coming from Europe to the UK
  • The Transport Secretary is right in saying that cabotage is not new but in Europe, only three drops are allowed during a seven-day period – compared to the two currently allowed in the UK. How can moving to unlimited drops in a two-week period be acceptable?
  • The facilities for drivers in Europe are far better. There are safe spaces for them to park, shower, eat and drink, get a good sleep. Sadly, this is not the case in the UK, the drivers will not have the same quality rest breaks that are essential to the driver – and the general public’s – safety. UK drivers will ultimately return home during the week but not so for a European driver on a two-week contract
  • Statistics are readily available from RoSPA which show that not only are left-hand drive HGVs 3.4 times more likely to be involved in a crash than right-hand drive HGVs, but foreign-registered HGVs also tend to have much higher prohibition rates than UK registered HGVs for a range of offences. In addition, the study found that left-hand drive HGV drivers were more likely to be at least partially at fault for the accidents in which they were involved, and the contributory factor most often assigned to them was ‘failed to look properly – often associated with their vehicle’s blind spot, which was a factor in 76% of the accidents in the study. Furthermore, foreign drivers understandingly found driving in Britain more difficult due to the unfamiliar road layout and road user behaviour. See below, source RoSPA Road Safety Factsheet, Left Hand Drive Large Goods Vehicles, March 2021

On the basis of these facts, PML urges the government to reconsider the proposal and place a stronger emphasis on the safety and welfare of HGV drivers. If an accident does occur, the outcome can be life-changing, for both the victim and his / her family and the driver. HGV drivers are not a ‘commodity’ that can simply be bought in, as essential key workers they deserve to be treated with more dignity and greater respect.

Ultimately, is it possible to trust a Secretary of State for Transport who at 06.30am staunchly advised that the Port of Felixstowe was not experiencing any serious congestion problems, when at 10.30am the same day, PML and many others were in receipt of an email from MSC advising that: ‘due to continued congestion currently being experienced by all users of the Port of Felixstowe and to limit the impact to the service you receive from MSC, we will not be accepting empty restitutions into Felixstowe effective from 12 noon Friday 15th October.’  This does little to instil confidence that the government has a genuine understanding of – let alone grip on – the current situation. Or that the statements being issued are to be believed.

Response to suggested relaxation of cabotage rules

Perishable Movements Ltd – the provider of world-class logistics and supply chain solutions – has responded to reports relating to a potential relaxation of the rules governing the number of permitted deliveries a transport operator from another EU Member State can make within the UK – known as cabotage (Regulation (EC) 1072/2009).

Currently, under the terms of the UK-EU trade deal, non-UK EU hauliers are entitled to perform up to two extra cabotage operations within a seven-day period, commencing the day after delivering a load into Britain. This is in contrast to the three cabotage operations that are permitted within EU member states. The original purpose of the ruling was to improve the efficiency of road freight transport by reducing empty trips after the unloading of international transport operations.

European hauliers have called upon the Prime Minister to change the UK rules to enable drivers to perform three cabotage operations to make any trip to the UK worthwhile whilst also resolving the country’s current supply chain crisis. However, whilst we welcome the valued support of the European driver workforce, PML does not believe that this plan – if it comes to fruition – would be in the best interests of the drivers concerned.

Once again, this would represent a total disregard for driver safety and welfare. As a business, we have already spoken out on a number of occasions on the poor working environment for HGV drivers operating in the UK, who frankly, are regularly exposed to unsatisfactory – even inhumane – conditions. In this country, there is an abject failure to meet the basic needs of drivers to ensure they are able to perform their duties. As fellow human beings, they are entitled to access to facilities that provide them with a safe and secure place to park without fear of a break-in; essential shower and toilet amenities; healthy food and drink and designated spots for a well-earned break and sleep without fear of abuse or disruption.

By not providing these essential services, we are putting the safety of drivers at risk. And let’s not forget, a driver who has not had sufficient sleep or who is hungry/thirsty is potentially a driver more pre-disposed to causing an accident and therefore represents a significant danger.

Increasing the number of operations, EU drivers are able to perform in the UK – a country which, when compared with its European counterparts, has a very poor track record for the provision of services to encourage driver welfare and wellbeing – is a recipe for disaster.

At a time when HGV drivers are under such tremendous pressure, PML is working hard to demonstrate its duty of care to these essential workers, and we have exciting plans afoot at our new Lympne, Kent operation which will offer a suite of services to support driver health and comfort, delivered in a safe and secure environment.

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 …