A UK honey exporter is within weeks of closure as hauliers refuse to transport its small loads to the EU due to post-Brexit red tape.
The issues are largely driven by groupage – the consolidation of small loads into a single lorry – in which paperwork errors on one load can end up delaying an entire truck’s worth of goods.
Family Foods has asked more than 25 haulage companies to ship two pallets to Europe in recent weeks yet every one has rejected its requests.
The company will be shut within four to eight weeks if it continues as the EU makes up around 70% of its sales, said director Andrew Thain. He bemoaned a lack of government support in easing the barriers facing small companies in particular.
“It’s really emotional seeing your business crumble around you and the government doing nothing to help,” he said. “We just need a solution. We don’t care what it looks like but at the moment we can’t ship anything to Europe which is unacceptable.”
While much has been made of the new post-Brexit bureaucracy – a BMPA report out this week showed it is now a 23-step process to send a pork chop to Paris – Thain said the paperwork is “doable… the issue is finding anyone to take it.”
Small food producers have been “shut out” of sending produce to the EU since Brexit, according to trade analysis by the FDF this week. It showed food exports collapsed in January with salmon and beef exports almost stopping completely – down by 98% and 92% respectively.