Fresh food rotting in cold stores due to a Brexit HGV driver shortage

This week, a major British fresh food distributor warned that fruit and vegetables are rotting in cold stores because of a major shortage of HGV drivers.


At Perishable Movements Limited, we’ve been following the story closely and are aware of concerns within the industry.


If your business is facing supply issues as a result of the shortage of HGV drivers then get in touch with our road transport team. We can talk through the problems that you’re facing and offer advice and solutions.

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Here’s the story in full from MSN:

Tim O’Malley, managing director of Nationwide Produce PLC is one of the biggest companies supplying fruit and vegetables to supermarkets and restaurants across Britain. 

He has warned that perfectly good food is being left to rot as there are not enough truck drivers to transport produce across the country. 

The firm, which had a turnover of £144 million in 2018/19, imported 61 per cent of its products from outside the UK. 

In an article in the Fresh Produce Journal, Mr O’Malley has warned that his industry has been hit by Brexit, Covid-19 and changes to the tax system of HGV agency drivers.  

Mr O’Malley wrote: ‘The acute shortage of HGV drivers is now the direct cause of perfectly good, graded and packed fresh produce being dumped or left rotting in cold stores, waiting for wheels to go under it. Supermarket shelves and restaurant plates are going empty, and this is now a crisis of national importance.’

He said hauliers have been forced to call their customers to warn them that due to a shortage of drivers they are unable to deliver their produce, leaving them with little notice. 

He said one major supermarket could not get 22 full loads of produce delivered over last weekend. 

Mr O’Malley said he has had an excellent relationship with his main haulier for many years and said the industry has been warning about the impending shortages for many years.    

He said Britain has been reliant on large numbers of EU drivers who have returned to their home countries instead of remaining in the UK. 

Worse still for the industry, truck drivers are not included on the Government’s list of skilled labour so new arrivals will need immigration paperwork which makes the UK less attractive. 

Also, Covid-19 has seen no new British truck drivers trained within the past 12 months.  

He also said changes in the rules of self employment have seen a 25 increase in agency driver charges, which has a further impact on the cost of a delivery. 

Mr O’Malley said British truck drivers are getting older on average, with 13 per cent over 60 compared with one per cent under 25.  

He said the government has to change the tax rules and add foreign drivers to the skilled migrant list to help avert a crisis. 

He added: ‘If not that, perhaps a spike in fresh produce prices as the industry is forced to pass on the huge increase in all labour costs to the consumer.’ 

Mr O’Malley warned the entire industry was facing crisis and the government needed to take immediate action to avoid having empty supermarket shelves.  

The shortfall of 70,000 HGV drivers in the UK has already seen wages shoot up by 20 per cent and consumers are now being warned that grocery prices could rocket to pay for the drivers’ increased pay.

The shortage of lorry drivers has been fuelled by EU workers going back to the continent during the pandemic.

The introduction of the IR35 rules in April, which ensures agency drivers pay broadly the same Income Tax and National Insurance contributions as individuals who are directly employed, has also pushed wages up by £2 an hour per driver. 

Asset Alliance Group CEO Willie Paterson said he is growing increasingly concerned by the shortage of HGV drivers in the UK. 

He said: ‘Truck drivers were rightly hailed as national heroes for helping to keep the UK moving throughout this Covid-19 pandemic – and yet the industry’s pleas for help in addressing the growing driver shortage continue to go ignored. 

#The lack of skilled HGV drivers – estimated to be about 76,000 – isn’t just a problem for the sector, but the wider economy too, with potential to cause huge disruption to supply chains and the country’s coronavirus recovery.

‘Whilst the recent increase in the funding limit for Large Goods Vehicle apprenticeships is welcome, it just doesn’t go far enough. 

‘The government needs to take this issue seriously, and work hand-in-hand with the industry to make it easier – and more attractive – for new recruits to enter the profession, including resolving the driver test backlog, improving facilities and removing financial barriers such as high insurance and training costs.’

“PML gives us total peace of mind with our logistics”: Randall Parker case study

At Perishable Movements Limited we really care about the goods we deliver by air, by sea, and by road.

We understand what it takes to produce a world-class product. We take the time to listen from the grass roots up.

Randall Parker’s Commercial Director explains why they use Perishable Movements Limited

Graham Penny is Commercial Director at Randall Parker, a leading supplier of quality beef and lamb. He explains why Randall Parker chooses PML over other logistics and perishable goods transport companies.

David Carlisle is a farmer in Berkshire, he supplies lamb to Randall Parker.

“Everybody wants a story of provenance for the product that they’re buying. Consumers want to know that they’re buying produce that’s come from a sustainable source. They want to know that the farmers are caring for the land not just now, but for the future.

Graham Penny is Commercial Director at Randall Parker, a leading supplier of quality beef and lamb.

“They want to know that the meat that they’re buying has got full farm assurance and full traceability. When the lamb is ready PML sends the meat off and we rest easy knowing that the airfreight or the sea containers are going to arrive at their final destination on time and in the right condition.” 

PML provides total peace of mind to its customers.

“There are no late night phone calls saying the product has missed an airplane slot or that there’s been a problem with the container because no one plugged it in. PML gives us total peace of mind with our logistics”.

About Randall Parker:

Randall Parker Foods is a leading supplier of quality lamb and beef. Our customers choose us for the best quality, provenance and service.

We work closely with our farmer suppliers and combine the state of the art technology with traditional butchery skill to deliver the best quality and best value products.

We supply quality lamb to major high street retailers, local butchers, food service and international markets.

10 things you need to know about shipping fresh produce.

Shipping fresh produce is a fast-paced industry because of the effort required to make deliveries within a short timeframe. Perishables are time and temperature sensitive products that require careful handling and shipment processes to preserve their freshness.

This supply chain journeys from farmers to packaging and shipping companies, then to wholesalers or retailers, and finally to the end consumer. The supply chain can be surprisingly long if you don’t buy local, and the goods still need to be fresh, despite the lengthy shipping process.

Here’s PML’s top 10 tips for companies to consider when shipping fresh produce. 

  1. Safety of produce in transit. 

Although the concept of transporting produce looks simple on the face of it, there are many complications. Billions of pounds are lost due to food spoiling during the transportation process. Up to 33% of food can be lost or wasted and fresh produce can lose half of its shelf life in the shipping process.

Produce is sensitive freight due to individual shelf life timelines and the fragility of the items. When dealing with produce and other food items intended for consumption, there is no wiggle room when it comes to safety. Vehicles transporting food are required to adhere to strict standards, the goal being to prevent illness due to contaminated food. Vehicles must be clean and be able to be cleaned to prevent contamination plus produce must be kept at safe temperatures during transportation. 


2. The importance of produce temperature

Timing and temperature are the crucial factors when handling fresh produce because it deteriorates with time, depending on the temperature of storage.

Most refrigerated, chilled and fresh produce is stored and transported at temperatures between -1.5 and +14 degrees Celsius, varying on product type. However, transport can be trickier for perishables such as flowers, fruit and vegetables and some countries may not accept frozen goods that have been off refrigeration for more than a specified time, regardless of temperatures achieved. That can result in wasted time, effort and ultimately, the loss of the produce. In all these cases, failure to meet requirements means a total commercial failure unless the goods can be diverted to a different destination where they will be accepted.


3. Produce Shelf Life

Not all produce is the same when it comes to shipping. The industry deems sensitive produce, with a short shelf life of a day or two, as light density. Next, produce that lasts 4 to 6 days is medium density. The heartier produce crops, those with a long shelf life in excess of a week, rank in the high-density category.

The logistics company selected to transport produce needs to know from the shipper exactly what the freight includes to ensure correct handling and timings. 

Shippers are working against the clock to get produce to market so consumers can enjoy the goods at the peak of their freshness. The strict shelf life of produce is why shippers often prefer a dedicated trucking solution to ensure delivery. The longer it takes to get produce shipped after harvest, the higher the chances items will spoil before reaching the shelf.

4. Lifestyle trends

As shoppers select produce at their retailer, few are thinking about the industry and what it takes to ship fresh. 

Consumers adopting healthier lifestyles often choose fresh produce. The trend at the moment is that freshness translates to healthy and the niche market of organic and plant-based foods is growing fast.T he push to find healthier food has translated into more produce shipments needing to be available to stay in step with the increasing demand. 

5. Where the Produce Comes From

What fruit or vegetable crop is growing when and where is always a big question for those dealing with produce. The answer to that question determines what can ship when or how much stock is available. Shippers generally have a good handle on what crops are harvesting in which countries in order to keep supply moving into stores.

But for shippers, the bigger question to answer is how fast a crop of fresh produce can get from the field to market. There is often a very short window of time to make it happen. 

Seasonal demands factor into shipment capacity, especially if a crop schedule is off by a few days or weeks. In most cases, a dedicated shipper will have flexibility to get everything done in time. However, this is not a guarantee, so shippers should not take it for granted. Good communication between the shipper and trucking company is a good way to gauge what is possible when things change.

Another challenge in shipping fresh produce is the distance from the point of origin to the final destination. According to the Logistics Bureau, fresh produce averages about half its shelf life on a truck. Therefore, produce with a short shelf life only has around a day of freshness remaining once it reaches the market. If all things are perfect, this is not a lot of time for consumers to maximise the freshness. However, it drives the point home about the urgency needed when it comes to shipping fresh produce.

6. The Demand for Fresh Produce

So where do consumers purchase fresh produce? The answer to that question includes grocery stores, fresh markets, specialty markets and the growing trend of meal kit services. Shoppers are particular about where they purchase their fresh fruits and vegetables. While supermarkets take the top spot for produce sales, specialty retailers who emphasis organic goods are quickly gaining popularity.

It is a matter of preference when it comes to shopping for seasonal fruits and vegetables. While some consumers want to touch and feel the produce they select, others rely on fresh selections arriving on their doorstep.

Regardless of the venue, fresh produce arrives at each site on a regular basis to keep up with the growing demand. 

Traditional grocery stores typically display seasonal and locally grown produce prominently with additional bins stocked full of other produce staples. Likewise, the fresh produce sections at specialty markets are alive with the vibrant colours of the seasonal harvest. However, the two retailers may vary the quantity of produce on hand based on traffic. Shipping fresh produce to a large grocery store may involve several trucks making a delivery often within a week. In contrast, a smaller marketplace may schedule one delivery per week with limited amounts of certain items. In each case, the shipper is working closely with the stores to determine what produce is needed and how soon a truck can arrive to replenish the shelves.

The increase of meal kit delivery has also stretched the demand to ship fresh produce. The kits are popular with those who lack the time or desire to do the shopping but want to have a tasty meal. The kits include all the ingredients, right down to the fresh peppers, tomatoes or other items. Once picked, fresh produce needs to move quickly.

7. Multimodal transport

When transporting perishables, you have distinct choices between air, sea and road freight. Choice is often a matter of speed, cost and more importantly, the type of perishables you handle.

With fresh fish, the main logistics issues are in ensuring the expected journey times are consistent with product life and reducing time off from refrigeration. Problems are most likely to occur at export terminals and transit points, both for air and sea freight. For road transport, you need to factor in traffic congestion and customs delays.

Struggling with import and export issues? Get in touch with our team of experts for bespoke logistics advice:

Vegetables and fresh fruits pose many of the same problems as seafood and flowers. Refrigerated containers and prepackaging using ice and sometimes cold gas can extend shelf life, but the reality with many perishables is that presentation is also important to the end consumer. Excessive vibrations and gases can adversely affect these products in transit.

Proper planning and operating systems overcome these difficulties to some extent, but there is always a degree of uncertainty and producers should build in some margin for delays to the planning process. Think of the cold chain as a journey to be achieved, not just a destination.

8. Restaurant or Comsumer

Wholesale produce shippers fulfill daily orders for restaurants as well as general consumers.

Today, health-conscious diners are requesting more produce options on restaurant menus. The days of the kitchen just receiving a few boxes of tomatoes, carrots, lettuce or cucumbers for salads are gone. In order to guarantee the kitchen has enough produce available, chefs and restaurant owners are working to develop networks of locally sourced produce. 

9. Packaging and storing 

Next, transporters must select the best packaging for shipment. Fruits like apples, citrus, and pears that have hard skins are good for long travel because they are sturdy enough to handle it. Softer fruits like plums and peaches, on the other hand, have to be carefully packaged and handled carefully. When selecting packaging, transporters must also consider factors like how to protect produce from temperature changes.

Once the produce has been selected and packaged, it is ready to be loaded and shipped. Transporters must be conscious of what they are shipping; for example some fruits cannot be transported together. All fruits release a harmless gas called ethylene after being harvested, and each fruit releases the gas in different quantities. This gas causes certain fruits like tomatoes and peppers to ripen and spoil faster, so they must be kept separate from fruits that release the gas in large quantities.

Transporters must also consider where the cargo is going. Most countries restrict the transport of products across borders to prevent the spread of bacteria and plants that could damage their local ecosystems and thus have different rules and regulations for deliveries

10. Impact damages

Another common reason food is wasted before reaching the consumer is impact damages. Consumers do not want to purchase bruised or damaged produce, so if it gets damaged in the shipping process, it will never make it to the store.

Shocks and vibrations that occur during shipping can seriously damage the produce, and this is a big risk if the items are not packaged and loaded properly. In fact, if a transporter is over-burdened with produce to ship, they may load an excessive amount of pallets in one vehicle to cut costs, often resulting in damaged goods.

While the logistics of fresh produce are challenging and complex, monitoring each step of the process can ensure that the produce makes it to the end consumer safely and intact. Technology like data logging, and the cold chain process, make this possible and allow us to have the fruits and vegetables we enjoy on a daily basis.

Best British Lamb – forget Easter, Summer’s prime time for this ‘Spring’ meat

Buying produce that’s proudly made in Britain is great for the country’s economy and its farmers. It also reduces the carbon footprint that comes with importing fresh produce from overseas. 

In this case study Perishable Movements Limited (PML) visits Place Farm in Berkshire, this is where customer, Randall Parker rears its lambs. We explore how PML supports the UK’s perishable goods supply chain from field to fork.

Although lamb is traditionally a spring meat and the #1 choice for an Easter Sunday roast, early-April isn’t actually the best time to buy british lamb. In fact, the majority of the lamb that we buy in supermarkets at Easter is imported from countries such as New Zealand to meet the demand.

Why? Sheep are naturally tuned to giving birth in early spring, once the frosty winter has passed and spring’s fresh grass is growing. ‘Lamb’ in the food sense refers to any sheep under a year old. The succulent ‘new-season lamb’ that we enjoy at Easter is generally four to six months old which means British newborn lamb is off the menu in April.

If we truly want to support British farmers and take a more sustainable approach to supply chain and perishables the ideal time to buy British lamb is in the summer months. In May and June lamb is at its most tender but as the season progresses the flavour develops.

In this case study Perishable Movements Limited (PML) visits Place Farm in Berkshire, this is where customer, Randall Parker rears its lambs. We explore how PML supports the UK’s perishable goods supply chain from field to fork.

PML has worked with Randall Parker for over three years collecting fresh produce from source and transporting it to PML’s Heathrow HQ for forward transportation both across the UK and abroad. The fresh produce is transported in PML’s custom fitted temperature controlled fleet of trucks to ensure that the meat remains in an unbroken cold chain. For products such as Halal lamb this seamless process from source is essential to ensure that the tight deadlines for transportation (halal lamb must arrive in the country of consumption within 72hours of being produced) are met. To ensure that the needs of the supply chain are met, PML run a 24/7/365 global transportation service.


Live animals, animal products and food and feed of non-animal origin border control posts (BCP) in the UK

A Border Control Post is an inspection post designated and approved in line with EU legislation for carrying out checks on animals and animal products arriving from third countries at a European Union border. These checks are carried out to protect animal and public health, and animal welfare.

Perishable Movements Limited have a DEFRA approved Border Control Post in Spalding, Lincolnshire and it’s now officially open for business.

Our official listing on the gov.uk site is live:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-border-control-posts-animal-and-animal-product-imports/live-animals-animal-products-and-food-and-feed-of-non-animal-origin-border-control-posts-bcp-in-the-uk

Need support navigating the BREXIT red tape or want to find out more about our Border Control Post? Fill in your details below and we’ll get back to you.

PML’S SOLUTION TO BORDER CONTROL DELAYS NOW OPERATIONAL

Collaboration between PML and FreshLinc aims to reduce the pressure at ports

PML and FreshLinc’s venture to operate a remote HMRC / Defra-approved Border Control Post (BCP) and ERT (bonded warehouse) facility has finally been approved and is now up and running. 

Completed ahead of Brexit, the global perishable cargo specialist partnered with transport and logistics company FreshLinc to run the operation at Fresh Linc’s Spalding HQ, to enable a speedier movement of product from the ports and therefore delivering an extended shelf life of up to 48 hours. However there was a delay of over three months for the project to be greenlighted due to the pandemic.

The BCP, which sits on a 70,000 sq ft site, should have been effective from 1 January 2021 and represents a £400,000 investment. The facility includes a purpose-built 10,000 sq ft warehouse with the capacity to store 330 pallets and dedicated inspection areas for customs and Defra. Four new staff have been trained to ensure a round-the-clock service.

The two sides explain that the Spalding location is ideally placed for freight traffic coming out of Dover and Southampton docks and the move to set up a BCP away from the ports “represents a solution to the delays and excessive queues which impede the onward movement of freight.”

PML sales director Nick Finbow said: “It is unfortunate that the official opening of the facility at Spalding was delayed but of course, we are accepting that we are all working under exceptional circumstances. We are delighted that we can now offer our customers the benefit of a safe and speedy transfer out of the ports which should ultimately deliver a minimum of 24-48 hours additional shelf life on perishable goods with no break in the cold chain.

“As a business PML has always demonstrated forward thinking and is proactive in identifying innovative solutions to any challenge which threatens to impede its ability to deliver the effective, seamless service for which it is renowned.”

Border Control Post Warehouse

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‘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.”

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Trusted Bytes project aims to boost supply chain productivity within UK food economy

A boosted supply chain productivity and streamlined regulatory compliance could become established within a new project named the Trusted Bytes Project for an industry wide data exchange system, which will cost £2.8 million and will be funded by Innovate UK. 

The project will connect the fresh produce supply chain with central government and other major partners and will help facilitate the flow of fruit and vegetables across Post Brexit borders and will drive productivity forward within the UK.

Professor Simon Pearson, director of the Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology at the University of Lincoln, who is involved in the project, said: “Given the changes to UK terms of trade post Brexit, this project is extremely timely. We hope to provide technology to help the flow of the fresh produce trade but also lead innovation to establish the trusted sharing of data in complex supply chains.”

The technology will digitise border transfer processes and provide proof of food provenance, and will allow data exchange and sharing across the food supply chain creating a “trust framework”. Contained Technologies’ BlueRing software is at the centre of the project, and is designed to integrate external systems, such as HMRC, quickly and easily, while Novel telecoms will provide real-time digital connectivity for supply chain operators. A new BSI standard will be developed to enable businesses to automate the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) certification process. 

The project will deliver a full service that can integrate across multiple ERP systems, from order to compliance and submission. Information will be accessible to all on a data sharing platform that tracks conditions and locations of produce, as well as enabling this data to be easily integrated and shared in companies’ own forms and templates, within their current systems. 

The consortium, led by Produce Logistics, includes leading fresh produce supply chain operators Fesa UK, Worldwide Fruit, Davis Worldwide, Hain Daniels, FreshLinc, and ukFPN Lincolnshire. Angie Stuart of ukFPN Lincolnshire said: “This is a major achievement and another great example of the level of innovation found within the fresh produce industry in South Lincolnshire. We’re super excited to be working on this project with our members and partners.”

It is supported and welcomed by tech companies Contained Technologies UK, British Standards Institution (BSI), and Excelerate Technology. The University of Lincoln, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult’s Manufacturing Technology Centre, and the Satellite Applications Catapult have also extended their support. 

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.