UK exports may be grounded

NEW airfreight safety rules to be implemented next month could put UK exporters out of business.

The UK’s Department for Transport is to abolish the account consignor scheme system, which allows logistics groups to accept goods for freight from self-certified businesses.

Instead, from 10 December, companies will either have all of their goods scanned by integrators such as FedEx, TNT and UPS, or will have to make their premises high security sites in order to prevent good being tampered with.

Dense objects like machine parts cannot be scanned by the latest x-ray machines, leaving businesses with no choice but to cough up the money to have them scanned by freight players with the proper equipment in place.

European export competitors will still be able to operate under the account consignor status, which is established under EU law.

Becoming a known consignor is “prohibitively expensive”, logistics experts said, as it requires firms to spend thousands of pounds vetting staff, securing parts of their premises and using only sealed trucks to transport goods to airports. There is also an inspection regime.

“The government is committed to providing the right environment for economic growth, but the safety and security of air passengers and crew must be paramount,” a government spokesman said.

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