A Scary Prospect; Brexit Stockpiling

October 29, 2018

We’re taking this opportunity to urge food manufacturers to secure storage space now.

Storage space across the industry; amongst our competitors and within our own network of coldstores is already being squeezed by the demand for stockpiling by food manufacturers and retailers in the lead up to the UK’s imminent exit from the European Union.

With a Brexit deal still to be struck, the food industry is planning for the worst and its perfectly justified in doing so. Unless a deal is struck soon, we may see government planning switch from deal negotiations to no deal preparations.

"We may see government planning switch from deal negotiations to no deal preparations" 

We expect the stockpiling trend to increase as the ‘divorce’ deadline draws closer – companies understandably need to have a contingency plan, but we are seeing first-hand that demand for temperature-controlled storage space will soon outstrip supply.  

Storage space is already being filled by both finished products and ingredients as manufacturers seek ways of preventing production lines grinding to a halt. Even if a product is manufactured in the UK, ingredients are often sourced oversees and as such, are likely to face difficulties if they are shipped through EU ports like Calais.  

Although the government has pledged to ensure the UK has “adequate food supplies”, Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has been reported to say "industry must take the lead.”  

"Industry must take the lead"  

The UK’s limited coldstorage capacity, coupled with anticipated delays at UK ports and a freight gridlock, could be devastating for the UK food supply chain.  

Coldstorage storage orders across Rick Bestwick’s four sites in Chesterfield, Scunthorpe, Liverpool and Warrington have reached record levels with substantial orders already being placed for the normally quieter post-Christmas period.  

We anticipated additional stock levels of around 10% but for many new and existing customers it’s looking more like 15-20% and with five months still remaining until the UK leaves the EU, we would urge food companies to plan now, because time – and coldstorage – really is running out.