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NPA continues to spread the word about damaging meat export delays

20th Jan 2021 / By Alistair Driver

The NPA's concerns over the serious disruption being caused to the pig sector due to the new requirements at ports continue to be picked up by the media. 

Brexit imageThe widely read PoliticsHome website interviewed chief executive Zoe Davies, who told the website that tonnes of rotting meat is stuck at European ports as a result of 'eye-watering' post-Brexit paperwork. This includes a lorry carrying British pork that has been stuck in the Netherlands since 1 January.

You can read the article HERE

Zoe said pig heads, which are exported from the UK to European buyers to make products like sausages and pâté, have been stuck at Rotterdam port for weeks due to Dutch authorities demanding that that they be tested for disease (Trichinella).

“It's eye-watering what our members have to do," she the website. “And it is going to be an ongoing issue that gets worse as more and more people decide to export to the EU."

The NPA issued a press release last week highlighting the fact that 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. It was widely picked up in the media last week and interest continues to grow. 

The additonal Brexit checks and issues like those experienced in the Netherlands with pork exports are making it very difficult to get product into the EU and the market for cull sows and boars in particular has all-but disappeared.

As a result demand for cull adults from the abattoirs that process them is hugely reduced and producers are having to make alternative plans. Members can read some important guidance on this in the Members' Area (January 19 entry).  

Not fit for purpose

Problems are being experienced across the meat sector. British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) CEO Nick Allen this week described the new post-Brexit customs system for meat products ‘convoluted, archaic and badly implemented’ and warned the EU meat trade was now in jeopardy. 

“At best it is causing delays to simple, single-product loads but at worst it has meant that grouped loads are now no longer viable to send. Indeed, some of the UK’s largest haulage firms have already ceased completely taking grouped loads," he said.

“If continental supermarkets are unable to have products delivered the way they need them to be, this trade will simply be lost as EU customers abandon UK suppliers and source product from European processors. Members are already being told by their EU customers that they’ll be looking to Spain and Ireland to buy product from now on."

Giving an example of the issues meat companies are facing, he said: "One of our members reported on January 11 that he had six lorry loads of product [value around £300,000]all waiting for customs clearance into the Republic of Ireland. At the time, one of those loads was about to be returned to the processing company after waiting 5 days for clearance. Drivers have been reporting long delays as they wait for HMRC to process the customs documents."

Sheep problems

The sheep sector is particularly reliant on lamb exports and this trade is being badly affected, according to Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association (NSA). He painted a similar picture of a 'significant' burden of new red tape at the border and lorries full of carcasses being denied entry into EU markets.

“There are huge hold-ups," he said. "Journeys that were taking 24 hours are now taking easily 48 hours or more. One lorry load of lamb carcasses was sent back from Calais to where it started in Kenilworth just last week.

“The cost of transport and lorry time – driver time if you like – is double what it was recently.”