The government must not delay the introduction of post-Brexit border checks on imports due to be implemented from July, according to Logistics UK.
However, its call to stick to the planned timetable came as the Cold Chain Federation (CCF) told MPs the additional checks would be “a nightmare” for small businesses and that a collapse in trade for these firms couldn’t be ruled out.
Sarah Laouadi, Logistics UK head of international policy, said businesses would be unsettled by further delays.
She said: “Despite the ongoing pressures on supply chains caused by the war in Ukraine, Russian sanctions and the Covid-19 pandemic, logistics businesses need the certainty for planning which a deadline provides.
“After three other false starts for the introduction of import controls from the EU, it is time for the government to make a clear commitment to a deadline and ensure the necessary facilities, staff and processes are in place and ready to cope with the volume and patterns of trade by that deadline.
“The longer the uncertainty continues, the more difficult it will be for government and UK traders to generate a sense of urgency to focus the minds of supply chain partners and officials in getting ready for new trading arrangements.”
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Shane Brennan, chief executive of the CCF told the cross-party UK Trade and Business Commission, that full sanitary and phytosanitary checks on meat and dairy goods would require veterinary certification and potential inspection when they arrived at UK ports.
Brennan said: “It’s all about small businesses. That trade has become basically impossible on the export routes.
“It will become impossible on the import routes starting on the 1 July.
“I think they should push back the 1 July deadline for SPS controls – this is the wrong year to do this.
“We are facing rampant cost inflation on our food supply. We have huge supply chain stress.
“This is an unnecessary thing to put in on top of everything else right now.”