UPDATE 2-Scottish seafood deliveries face new delays amid Brexit red tape

14 Jan 2021 / 00:27 H.

    (Adds details on delays)

    By Kate Holton

    LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Deliveries of Scottish seafood to Europe will not resume until Jan. 18 after post-Brexit problems with health checks, IT-systems and customs documents caused a growing backlog, industry sources said on Wednesday.

    Scottish fishing has been one of the industries worst hit by Britain's departure from the European Union, with French buyers rejecting trailer loads of langoustine and monkfish worth tens of thousands of pounds because they took too long to arrive.

    Logistics group DFDS suspended its groupage export service - which allows multiple exporters to ship products in a single consignment - on Jan. 8, after the supply chain broke down.

    It now expects to resume delivery next Monday for a service which will now take longer. Goods picked up on Day 1 should now arrive for Day 3, at least a day longer than it used to take to send to France before Britain left the EU.

    "We are very thankful for the patience our customers have shown, knowing the painful situation the backlog has put them in," DFDS said in a statement.

    The problems in getting fresh produce to European markets show the complexity at Britain's borders following its departure at the start of this year from the EU's single market and customs union.

    With multiple fishermen loading goods into one consignment - a common procedure in British industry - logistics providers must summarise the load, giving commodity codes, product types, gross weight, number of boxes and value, plus other details.

    If an error is discovered the summaries and declarations must be recreated and whole vehicles can be unloaded. Health certificates take longer to arrive than predicted and IT systems have struggled to interact with each other.

    Fishermen in Scotland have stopped sending their boats out to fish. The Scottish government says the disruption has cost the industry millions of pounds in lost contracts, plus lower prices at market.

    The opposition Liberal Democrat party said the chaos was costing the fishing industry 1 million pounds ($1.4 million) a day.

    Michael Gove, Britain's cabinet office minister who led preparations for a no-deal Brexit, told parliament on Wednesday that smoother access must be secured. ($1 = 0.7340 pounds) (Editing by Andrew MacAskill and Timothy Heritage)

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