Posted: 02/03/2021

Mounting food import costs putting pressure on suppliers

Mounting food import costs putting pressure on suppliers

The administrative burden and import costs associated with the UK’s exit from the EU is putting pressure on supplier businesses and prompting a rapid rethink of import strategies, according to a leading figure.

Kamil Shah, co-founder of Olive Branch – which imports several products from Greece to the UK – said the Middlesex firm was being hit by charges of up to €120 for each shipment from each location.

“We have a lot of products in our range made in different factories across Greece,” he said. “If we have a container with products made in 10 different locations, we will be charged 10 times, so €1,200.

“Where we were lean and agile – consolidating goods from different suppliers on a pallet – that advantage has gone.

“We now have to plan, so we have bigger volumes coming over to spread the charge over a larger number of products.”

A requirement by UK customs for an environmental health certificate to accompany each shipment of food of animal origin – including cheeses and honey – will add further expense, Shah added. “We are planning to swallow these costs ourselves and not pass them on but time will tell.”

Meanwhile importer and distributor, RH Amar said the costs of increased documentation due to Brexit would “eventually have an impact on prices”.

Chairman Henry Amar said: “Many of our suppliers are currently absorbing these costs in the short term. Others are seeking to charge us amounts up to €100 per load, to pay for the time needed to process new documentation. 

“We are resisting these extra charges wherever possible, but eventually the higher costs of trading with the UK will be reflected in our suppliers’ pricing.” 

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