BFFF boss warns of disruption to food supplies as January rule change looms
Richard Harrow, the chief executive of the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) said that new border controls on animal and plant products from the EU could see major delays at ports in the New Year.
From 1st January 2022, importers must make a full customs declaration on goods entering the UK from the EU or other countries. Traders will no longer be able to delay completing full import customs declarations for up to 175 days.
According to BFFF, the UK imports five times the amount of food than it exports to the EU, so, the potential for delays and food supply issues in January is high.
With only days to go before the rules are implemented, Harrow added that the BFFF remains concerned that January could be “a fraught month for our members.” Harrow said that whilst the new UK rules will be introduced in stages, the BFFF is concerned that not enough planning has been done to ensure the new requirements are understood by everyone in the food supply chain.
He said: “A good example of this is a new HMRC process called Goods Vehicle Management System (GVMS). The system is designed to enable HMRC to keep a track of loads containing meat and plant products in fast-moving roll-on-roll off ports such as Dover.
“The system requires haulage companies to pre-lodge the arrival of a load to the UK before it departs from the EU port of embarkation. Whilst many UK hauliers are well prepared for this change, we suspect many EU hauliers are not.
“Whilst the UK authorities have said they will not stop vehicles that do not complete all the documents correctly, this assumes the EU port will allow a vehicle without the correct paperwork to leave port.”