BFFF boss warns of disruption in food supply as January rule change looms

Richard Harrow, managing director of the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF), said new border checks on animal and plant products coming from the EU could cause significant delays at ports in the new year.

From January 1, 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 the completion of complete import customs declarations for up to 175 days.

According to BFFF, the UK imports five times more food than it exports to the EU, so the potential for delays and food supply problems in January is high.

With only days before the rules are implemented, Harrow added that the BFFF remains concerned that January could be “a busy month for our members.” Harrow said that although the new UK rules are being introduced in stages, the BFFF is concerned that there has not been enough planning to ensure the new requirements are understood by everyone in the food supply chain.

He said: “A good example is a new HMRC process called the Cargo Vehicle Management System (GVMS). The system is designed to allow HMRC to keep track of shipments containing meat and plant products in rapid roll-on-roll off ports such as Dover.

“The system requires transport companies to pre-deposit the arrival of a shipment in the UK before it leaves the EU port of embarkation. While many UK carriers are well prepared for this change, we believe many European carriers are not.

“Although UK authorities have said they will not stop vehicles that do not fill out all paperwork correctly, this assumes that the EU port will allow a vehicle without the proper papers to leave the port.”

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