The UK Warehousing Association has called for change in food inspection procedures to allow foodstuffs entering the country to be inspected at inland premises to ease the flow of goods into the UK post-Brexit.
Chief executive Peter Ward, said: “Currently food inspections must be conducted within the port boundary, but after Brexit this will be impractical.”
He continued: “For example, 44 per cent of what the nation eats enters the UK at Dover from the EU. This is the equivalent of 1,000 trucks per day through the port on ferries and the tunnel.
“Inspecting this food in a manner consistent with Rest Of World rules from March 2019 is going to present a major challenge.
“For instance, the port of Dover doesn’t have the necessary plug-in points to power temperature-controlled vehicles, which means the only way to ensure that food remains cool while awaiting inspection will be to keep diesel engines running – which will add cost and impact on the environment.
“The lack of adequate inspection facilities at Ro/Ro ports, such as Dover, will result in unprecedented delays and after Brexit there will simply not be sufficient capacity nor the infrastructure to cope, so an interruption in food supply chains seems inevitable.”
Allowing food inspections to be carried out at inland storage facilities would allow existing storage premises to be adapted to accommodate inspection regimes and deliver the necessary extra capacity more quickly.
Ward acknowledged that, given the huge volumes involved, any new inland food inspection facilities would have to be located close to both power supply and a sustainable labour pool, which in turn will trigger other concerns.
“The question is how resistance of local residents to large warehousing and distribution developments will be balanced against the need to ensure the nation continues to be fed,” he said.
* The UK and EU are to negotiate continuously from now on, Michel Barnier revealed following a meeting with UK Brexit secretary Dominic Raab yesterday.
“Our challenge for the coming weeks is to try and define an ambitious partnership between the UK and the EU. A partnership that has no precedent. This partnership has to respect the single market and the foundations of the European project. If this is well understood, we can conclude the negotiations successfully,” said Barnier.