2. Dale Weeding, Business Relationship Officer at SCPHA, takes the floor for the first Port Health Stakeholder Forum

Logistics community joins Suffolk port health authority for insight into import controls

Over 20 importers and agents joined Suffolk Coastal Port Health Authority (SCPHA) for first-hand insight into health checks being performed on goods entering the UK.

SCPHA hosted its first Port Health Stakeholder Forum at East Suffolk House, Melton, as Britain prepares for new checks on EU imports.

Dale Weeding, Business Relationship Officer at SCPHA who led the forum, said: “We were delighted to welcome so many people with a vested interest in port health to the first of our quarterly forum. This included freight forwarders like RJJ Freight, logistics providers such as Edge Worldwide and many more reputable companies.

“We want to show SCPHA is a facilitator to trade as it upholds legislation to protect public and animal health, as well as carrying out controls on organic products and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, while fully supporting importers who follow the UK’s health standards.”

Dale Weeding takes the floor to open the first Port Health Stakeholder Forum.

SCPHA’s panel comprising Operations Manager Hannah Panting, Technical Lead Simon Rowell, Technical Specialist Andrew Robinson and Team Leader Dan Longson answered questions about new checks due to be introduced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on EU imports from October 2023.

Outlined in the draft Border Target Operating Model (BTOM), EU imports will fall into new risk categories which will determine the level of checks required from port health authorities.

Hannah said: “The draft BTOM includes a projection of 1% to 30% of physical checks being required for EU products, depending on their associated risk levels. Our aim is to understand what products fall within the different risk categories proposed.”

Simon added: “Although the EU has similar standards to the UK, we must always be aware of potential threats to biosecurity.

“Now the consultation period with DEFRA has concluded we will await publication of the final BTOM.”

From left: Simon Rowell, Hannah Panting, Dan Longson, Andrew Robinson and Dale Weeding.

The panel also discussed how SCPHA will begin checking products of animal origin imported to Harwich International Port from June, expanding its current remit of examining products of non-animal origin and intercepting illegal pork found in traffic by Border Force.

Hannah said: “We will monitor trade volumes at Harwich over the coming months to ensure the resources we commit fit the demand.”

SCPHA looks forward to hosting the next iteration of its Port Health Stakeholder Forum on 20 July as organisations are invited to register their attendance for free through Eventbrite.

Dale concluded: “Any organisations with a vested interest in port health are welcome to join us as we learn from each other about the state of trade and the industry at large.”