Brexit checks hitting pork exports hard and damaging the sector NPA


By Alistair Driver, Pig World (UK)

January 13, 2021


UK pork processors are experiencing significant issues in exporting products to the EU, which has already brought part of the industry to a complete standstill, the NPA has warned.


Coming on top of COVID-19 issues that reduced throughput at some pork plants, the association said the situation risks further knock-on impacts on farms.


The NPAs processor members have reported that excessive bureaucracy associated with new paperwork requirements are causing delays at Dover, Calais and other ports. With pork being a perishable product, these delays are making UK shipments unattractive to buyers in the EU, forcing processors to reject shipments and cancel future orders.


Despite the trade deal agreed between the EU and UK just before Christmas, the UKs formal departure from the EU Customs Union and Single Market was always going to mean additional checks, new labelling and certification requirements and delays at ports.


While the full overall impact of the new rules is yet to be felt, as UK export volumes remain lower than normal for the time of year, the UK pig sector is already feeling the effect.


Processors have reported a number of issues, including:


         Officials at ports in the UK, France, Ireland and the Netherlands are taking a far more stringent approach to assessing paperwork, which in itself appears to be excessive. One load was caught at Calais for 20 hours undergoing vet checks and then rejected upon finally reaching its destination in Germany because of the delay.

         Additional paperwork is causing major delays for processors one processor said it took nine hours to prepare the paperwork for one shipment to the EU last week.

         Another processor reported that when sending product to the Netherlands, each Export Health Certificate (EHC) needed 12 stamps for the English, Dutch and French versions required in duplicate. Therefore, for a 15 tonne load, the vet had to stamp paperwork 72 times. There is no electronic option at present all EHCs have to be in hard copy

         Another processor reported that as we are now a third country, new rules require inspectors to check labels on each box in a consignment of pork products meaning that the whole pallet has to be offloaded and broken apart to check the boxes in the middle, adding more time to the process.

         The Eurotunnel needs to process 500 lorries an hour but only has the veterinary capacity for 150 an hour which will slow things down even more.

         The administrative burden of EHCs means that vets are struggling to meet the demand and the costs for exporters have increased.


Bureaucracy overload ...


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