Flower and plant exports delayed by inspections in the UK

flower and plant exports

Dutch flower and plant exporters are facing delays due to physical inspections carried out in the United Kingdom since the end of April. These include controls of European shipments of fresh produce to check for diseases.

Since Brexit, Dutch flowers and plants have had to be inspected both in the Netherlands and then again in the UK. Until now, this was permitted in thousands of locations near the delivery address. However, since the end of April, this has to be done at some central points at ports and airports. Flowers and plants are now inspected when the cargo is driven off the ferry.

According to the Dutch Association of Wholesalers of Floricultural Products (VGB), dozens of exporters have now reported suffering from long delays and damaged plants. This is despite the ‘practical approach’ recently introduced by the UK authorities, which no longer check all loads.

Difficult to plan transport

‘Inspection times are a maximum of four hours, but we hear that waiting six to 10 hours is no exception,’ VGB director Matthijs Mesken said in Dutch newspaper AD. ‘Some trucks stand still for 16 hours.’ Transport is more difficult to plan as a result. ‘You don’t know if your truck will be picked out, meaning you’ll be late getting to your customer.’

The current problems are also said to be partly caused by a shortage of inspectors. ‘It is starting to be a problem as far as we are concerned, and we are going to discuss it with the Brits. They need to guarantee that there will be enough inspectors to inspect properly,’ Mesken commented.