New meat export systems not viable, says BMPA
New Brexit export controls have all but halted small, mixed, just-in-time deliveries of British pork chops, sausages and other meat products to supermarkets and customers in the EU and Northern Ireland, according to the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA).
Nick Allen, CEO of the BMPA, explained that sending a single lorry load of mixed products from different UK businesses to different EU or Northern Irish customers to stock their shelves for the following few days isn’t viable, and because of this situation, consignments of British meat heading to customers on the continent are still below 50% of normal volume, with some companies doing no exports at all.
It also reported that British firms are now registering EU businesses to bypass the export problems meaning Britain is now losing jobs and business.
Nick Allen added: “The new system is adding an average of 30 hours into the process; and the costs to ship these loads are now around 60% higher than last year.
“This is caused by a combination of additional charges from HMRC and their French counterpart, extra customs agents’ and veterinary charges to process the paperwork and haulage charges that have risen four-fold due to delays at the border. On top of that, freight insurers are raising premiums or simply refusing to insure loads.”
According to the BMPA, an inability to export the parts of the carcase that Brits don’t buy means that meat processing becomes less profitable which will eventually hit livestock prices for British farmers.
The trade body said that a solution to this problem will require commercial co-operation between businesses as well as political co-operation between the UK and the EU to re-negotiate and re-design the system from top to bottom. The BMPA also said that any potential solutions to ease trade barriers with Northern Ireland should also apply to trade with the EU.
Photograph: Nick Allen, CEO of the BMPA.