Freight News, Logistics

UKWA chief calls for port health rethink

[ August 8, 2019   //   ]

UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) chief executive Peter Ward warned that there could be a severe lack of food and plant inspection facilities at the Port of Dover after Brexit unless the Government took a new approach and adapted the ‘rule book’ for the new world.

He said that UKWA members could, if permitted, convert existing warehouses to include food inspection facilities. Ward commented: “At present, by law such inspections must be conducted before produce leaves the port, but our view is that establishing an inland network of inspection depots by utilising existing facilities offers a more pragmatic, cost-effective and timely solution than extending infrastructure at the ports.

“UKWA members already operate within the demanding regulations for food handling and inspection could simply become part of the process.”

Ward added that 31 October – the date set for Britain’s EU departure – coincides with peak season for many UKWA members as their retailer clients gear up for Black Friday and Christmas.

“The major problem we have seen in the sector is sourcing labour and the so-called ‘Brexodus’ has severely exacerbated an already serious problem: the falling value of the pound looks likely to drive more migrant labour away.

“Therefore, UKWA’s message to the Government is a plea to review the proposed immigration caps post-Brexit. In common with the construction and hospitality sectors, the logistics and warehousing industry desperately needs access to low-skilled, low-cost labour. With low youth unemployment figures in the UK, we look to the EU to supplement our workforce.”