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Concern over the UK’s ability to facilitate upcoming border checks

The UK Government are considering delaying the next phase of Brexit customs clearance procedures over concerns that the UK is not in place to facilitate them, when combined with other upcoming border checks.

The final phase of EU food checks, expanding on the pre-notification requirements that came into effect in January, is due to begin its rollout in July. 

However, the cost of living crisis, war in Ukraine, and the need to consider upcoming border checks in the EU are all impacting UK supply chains, and it is recognised that the the addition of these port health checks at borders will compound the issue.

What are the upcoming food checks?

From July, full Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks are due to be imposed on products of animal origin from the EU.

This means that your Unique Notification Number (UNN) will need to be stated on the original health certificate that accompanies the load.  

(Your UNN is generated when processing the 
pre-notification of your shipment to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) on the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS).)

In addition to this, an original copy of the health certificate must accompany the load in case of inspection t a Border Control Post (BCP). Copies will not be accepted.

(Copies of other commercial documents, such as the commercial invoice, will still be valid and must also accompany the load.)

The same requirements are due to come into effect for dairy shipments from September 2022, and for all other food imports from September 2022.

It has been noted by the UK Government that the BCP infrastructure may not be in place by July 2022, which would negatively impact the food industry and could further compound the cost of living crisis.

Additionally, many food importers have voiced concerns over supply chains due to EU exporters having other options that are less problematic. 

What are the upcoming border checks from the EU?

The EU is currently due to introduce airport-style biometric checks on it’s external borders in September, which will affect Dover due to juxtaposed border controls.

These upcoming border checks will mean that people who are bound for France will need to clear French entry requirements before they leave the UK.

Although this will affect the time it takes for HGV drivers to be processed in Dover, the major impact will be from passenger traffic. Currently, Dover is not equipped to install the biometric systems and processes needed to reduce the impact to traffic flow.

The CEO of Dover, Doug Bannister, has called on the UK Government to work with the EU on a solution to these upcoming border checks before they become a problem.

What should food importers do?

Currently, no delays have been announced for the last phase of food import checks. These checks will also be implemented sooner or later, so it is best to get suppliers and supply chain participants into the practice of anticipating them.

If you need help with preparing for upcoming border checks, contact one of our experts for more information.

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