“Quick to market” priority
In the wake of the ongoing crisis of serious congestion on approach routes to the Channel port of Dover, a special scheme giving priority to “quick to market” cargoes has been given to haulage operators needing to drive through Kent.
Any haulage operator is likely to know that some cargoes are perishable or that timely delivery is especially important. Cargoes which need to be “quick to market” might include those such as:
- emergency medicines;
- fresh fruit;
- fish and shellfish.
The further such goods need to travel and the longer they are caught up in delays whilst on the road, the more challenging the operation becomes for the carrier and the greater the financial loss likely to be caused to the supplier.
A good case in point is the lucrative market in the export of live lobsters and fish from Scottish producers to destinations throughout Europe.
For this reason, as described in a press release on the 5th of August 2015 the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has responded to calls from the Scottish government to help prevent delays of such goods on their way to Dover and the Channel Tunnel. With the help of Kent police such priority, “quick to market” cargoes will be routed directly to through to the Channel crossing without having to queue on the M20 motorway. Use will also be made of access routes across the disused Manston airport near Ramsgate.
According to the latest news from the food and drink manufacturing sector, the Scottish authorities have welcomed the fast tracking of “quick to market” good as “real progress” but consider it a temporary solution. If long-lasting and serious damage to the food supply chain is to be avoided, they say, requires a longer-term, multi-agency solution, possible depending on the use of alternative routes for perishable goods needing to be exported to continental Europe.
The current priority scheme is expected to assist around 200 trucks a day to reach the Channel crossings more quickly and smoothly. Consignments need to be accompanied by the standard CMR note (the recognised note confirming the contract details between trader and carrier).
Kent police are warning that any haulage operator abusing the system will be penalised by their being taken off the priority route and made to join the end of the queue of waiting traffic. If serious abuse of the scheme continues, the special priority measures will be scrapped, they say.
Although the “quick to market” priority scheme is expected to prove an especially welcome break for traders in goods as far away as Scotland, the scheme is by no means restricted to such cargoes and may be used by exporters of perishable and emergency supplies from any origin in the British Isles.