Postpone ‘broken’ BTOM until October demands trade body

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

New border rules in the UK are set to come into force on 30 April 2024. Credit: Getty / PCH-Vector
New border rules in the UK are set to come into force on 30 April 2024. Credit: Getty / PCH-Vector

Related tags Regulation

The Cold Chain Federation has urged the UK Government to postpone the full implementation of the new Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) until October 2024.

The trade body, which represents businesses that run the temperature-controlled supply chain in the UK, wrote in a letter to Defra Secretary Steve Barclay that the implementation of the next phase of BTOM on 30 April 2024 as planned would lead to an increase in food and drink prices and a reduction in consumer choice.

The federation believes that postponing the new model’s introduction will allow for “serious issues”​ to be addressed “in consultation with the food logistics industry”.

The letter highlighted issues such as the recently introduced Common User Charges, which the federation expects to cause delays, before questioning the readiness of Border Control Post (BCP) facilities due to staffing shortages and unfinished infrastructure.

Other concerns include the disruption of impractical 24-hour pre-notification requirements for the ‘groupage’ model (goods dispatched by several different companies are grouped into a same load) which is crucial for many small producers and retailers.

In terms of specific advice, the federation called on the Government to assess the operational capacity of all BCP facilities urgently, expand the trusted trader pilot scheme swiftly to support the smooth operation of BTOM for medium-risk good, and disclose the costs of BTOM and calculations for the predicted impact on food inflation.

Summarising the federation’s position, chief executive Phil Pluck said that it had become evident that BTOM was a “broken model”​ prior to it even being fully implemented.

“Without listening to the experts, the Government will seriously damage business confidence in the UK and add costs to consumers’ weekly shop,” ​continued Pluck.

“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.”

In other news, a mushroom producer has been fined £73,333 after an employee’s leg became trapped in a machine and was later amputated.

Related topics Legal Supply Chain

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