The Cold Chain Federation has warned Government that the full implementation of the new Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) on 30th April 2024 is expected to increase food prices and reduce consumer choice. The federation is urging Defra to postpone full implementation until October 2024 and to use the delay to address serious issues in consultation with the food logistics industry.

The Cold Chain Federation is the voice of temperature-controlled logistics in the UK. In a letter to Defra Secretary Steve Barclay, the federation highlighted anticipated impacts of BTOM including uncertain costs and delays for businesses in the food supply chain as a result of the recently introduced Common User Charges. It also questioned the readiness of Border Control Post (BCP) facilities due to staffing shortages and unfinished infrastructure.

The letter also raised concerns about the disruption of impractical 24-hour pre-notification requirements for the ‘groupage’ model (goods dispatched by several different companies are grouped into a same load) which is crucial for many small producers and retailers.

Cold Chain Federation Chief Executive Phil Pluck said: “Even before its full implementation, it’s becoming evident that BTOM is a broken model; the CCF and its members will help the Government get this right. Without listening to the experts, the Government will seriously damage business confidence in the UK and add costs to consumers’ weekly shop. Temperature-controlled logistics operators are working hard to adapt to BTOM but we need better collaboration with Government and EU partners to ensure a smooth transition that safeguards food safety, minimises disruption, and protects consumer interests.”

The Cold Chain Federation’s letter to the Defra Secretary asks for a number of actions prior to a full implementation of BTOM:

  • Review BCP readiness: The CCF asks Government to assess the operational capacity of all BCP facilities urgently.
  • Expand the Trusted Trader Scheme: The CCF proposes expanding the “trusted trader” pilot scheme swiftly to support the smooth operation of BTOM for medium-risk goods.
  • Transparency on costs and benefits: The CCF requests the government discloses the costs of BTOM and calculations for the predicted impact on food inflation. 

The Cold Chain Federation’s letter to the Defra Secretary is available on request, please contact for more information.

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