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Wooden pallet is Brexit stumbling block

UK does not have enough of the right sort of disease-resistant pallets to trade with the European Union, trade body says.

As if those in the import and export industry haven’t got enough trouble with COVID-19, their next quarantining crisis could be handed to them on an otherwise humble wooden pallet, The Times reports.

According to the Timber Packaging and Pallet Confederation, Britain does not have enough of the right sort of disease-resistant pallets to trade with the European Union in future - a situation that, ironically, has been made worse by the pandemic.

Wooden pallets need to be baked at 56C, ensuring that they meet the requirements of a regulation known as ISPM 15. It means that they are less likely to harbour diseases and pests and are more likely, with their cargo, to get through export control at ports around the world without going into quarantine, the London-based newspaper explained.

For the purposes of world trade, the EU is treated as one country and therefore it has not mattered whether wooden pallets going between Britain and the Continent are certified to ISPM 15 standards. From the end of the Brexit transition period on 31,December, the standards will matter.

Ministers have been alerted to the fact that the coronavirus has hampered efforts to get enough disease-resistant, ISPM-certified pallets produced to cover the 100 million used in trade between the UK and the EU.

Quoted by Bloomberg, John Dye, the Confederation’s president, has asked the government for an extension to get the right amount of pallets produced “It is ever more unlikely the 1, January 2021, compliance date will be met,” he told the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in a letter seen by the news agency.

The issue appears to be a lack of kilns and the need to invest in new such ovens to put the wooden pallets through the heat-treating process.

“Treatment capacity for wooden pallets has increased,” the department said in a statement. “We are working closely with industry to help ensure a sufficient stock of compliant pallets in time for January.”

Source: Lloyds Loading List



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