New border control post facilities are being established in Grimsby to ensure continuity for the seafood sector.
Ongoing uncertainty over implementation of physical checks on imports from Europe following Brexit has seen a huge investment at Immingham yet to be brought online.
The multi-million pound facility, close to the eastern entrance to the port off Queens Road, is on hold as clarity is sought - following four Westminster-imposed delays to the implementation deadline - now anticipated late next year.
Read more: Post-Brexit border check delays have lead to huge uncertainty says leading Humber port health figure
The same applies in Hull, but with the Royal Dock site of the existing South Bank facility about to be flattened to make way for RWE’s expanded offshore wind base, stakeholders have acted.
North East Lincolnshire Council - the designated authority for such arrangements - has taken a temporary lease of space at Grimsby Seafood Village - with importers dealing with non-EU products having faced trucking to Hull to get ‘rest of world products of animal origin’ approved.
A spokesperson for ABP confirmed it was a temporary measure. He said: “Longer term, we hope the border inspection post will be moving into the brand new Border Control Post we have built in Immingham – but we are not taking the decision on that until we have some clarity from the Government on the new arrangements.”
Further details have been promised by government with a 'Target Operating Model' expected in the autumn.
A £47 million investment for three posts on the Humber was confirmed in early 2021, with initial plans to open in the July. Killingholme and Hull are other sites. Legal action is being looked at by port operators as land is tied up on sites around the UK with mounting costs as nothing is yet recouped - dubbing them white elephants.
Fresh fish supply is one of the most critically affected elements of any port delays or excess haulage, with frictionless trade a key phrase since the campaigns ahead of the 2016 vote began.
Simon Dwyer who represents members of both Grimsby Fish Merchants Association and Seafood Grimsby & Humber Alliance cluster board, said: “Our members welcome the announcement of the new BCP facility at the Seafood Village. We have worked closely with North East Lincolnshire Council in finding this solution and relocating the BCP and we are grateful for their support. We are extremely grateful to the owners of the Seafood Village for accommodating the new BCP.”
Developed by merchants Pete Dalton and Gary Cadey a decade ago, Grimsby Seafood Village was seen as a vital piece of infrastructure for the sector, facilitating modern day food standards and processes, as many merchants operated out of Victorian premises.
Several million pounds worth of fish and seafood arrives in Grimsby and Immingham weekly, with the cluster the gateway to the UK retail market, with processors working for all the major supermarkets located in the town.
Many of the species are required to be taken for sanitary health checks - with estimates the changes could have led to diversions to other ports.
Mike Woods, chair of Grimsby FMA, said: “We're extremely fortunate to have entrepreneurs like Pete Dalton and Gary Cadey who had the foresight to invest in the the Seafood Village facility and protect the wellbeing of our industry, in particular, our fish merchants. The recent collaboration demonstrates that as a cluster we are stronger working together."
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