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Cold Chain Federation wants government to delay new border checks until October

The Cold Chain Federation is urging the government to delay the full implementation of the Border Target Operating Model due to concerns it will increase food prices and disrupt the food supply chain.

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The Cold Chain Federation (CCF), a trade association representing temperature-controlled logistics in the UK, is urging the government to postpone the full implementation of the new Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) until October 2024.

The BTOM is set to launch on April 30th, 2024, and aims to streamline border checks for goods entering the UK. However, the CCF warns that the current rollout could lead to increased food prices and reduced consumer choice.

In a letter to Environment Secretary Steve Barclay, the CCF raised concerns about several aspects of the BTOM’s potential impact.

The organisation highlights concerns about the recently introduced Common User Charges associated with BTOM. These charges could create unforeseen financial burdens for businesses in the food supply chain, potentially leading to delays as companies adapt to the new cost structure.

Also, CCF questions whether Border Control Post facilities are fully prepared for the BTOM launch. They cite potential staffing shortages and unfinished infrastructure as areas that could cause disruptions to the flow of goods.

The BTOM’s requirement for a 24-hour pre-notification for “groupage” shipments could be particularly disruptive for smaller producers and retailers who rely heavily on this model, according to the organisation. CCF suggests this requirement could lead to logistical hurdles for these businesses.

“Even before its full implementation, it’s becoming evident that BTOM is a broken model; the CCF and its members will help the Government get this right,” said Cold Chain Federation Chief Executive Phil Pluck. “Without listening to the experts, the Government will seriously damage business confidence in the UK and add costs to consumers’ weekly shop. Temperature-controlled logistics operators are working hard to adapt to BTOM but we need better collaboration with Government and EU partners to ensure a smooth transition that safeguards food safety, minimises disruption, and protects consumer interests.”