Hauliers want priority for perishable goods at Dover

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UK hauliers carrying perishable goods say products are losing quality and value as they are forced to sit in long queues to cross into Europe at Dover.

Bad weather, Easter holidays and P&O Ferries routes being suspended have all led to congestion around the port.

The queues eased on Sunday, but the British Meat Processors Association said some of its members had waited for 24 hours or more to cross.

The government said traffic management measures were under regular review.

However, a Department for Transport spokesperson gave no indication that there would be a change made for those transporting perishable items.

As well as the other factors causing congestion, which have led to the traffic management system Operation Brock being put in place, there have also been problems with a key IT system for custom checks at the UK’s busiest port after Brexit.

Lockerbie-based Eardley International takes fresh meat from the UK into continental Europe, operating 25 trucks at any one time.

“Our products have a very short shelf life,” company director Graham Eardley told the BBC.

“If we load lamb in the UK on a Monday, we’d expect to deliver that product to Germany on a Tuesday. Now we are seeing delays of 20 to 25 hours to cross the Channel, and the quality and the sale value of that product falls by every hour it is delayed.”

 

By Katie Prescott / BBC

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