Global perishable cargo specialist Perishable Movements Ltd (PML) has announced it will move some of its operations out to Kent in response to the “crippling effect” the extension of London’s Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) will have on its business.

The company has invested £3.5m in a 100,000ft2 satellite site in Lympne near the motorway network, Channel Tunnel and the ports (Dover and Folkestone).

“This will enable PML to provide its customers with the opportunity to capitalise on an alternative route in and out of Heathrow, representing a seamless, efficient freight forwarding service which does not attract the charges / penalties associated with using the roads within the Greater London area affected by the new LEZ standards,” PML said in a press release.

The company plans to apply for remote HMRC / DEFRA approved Border Control Post (previously known as a Border Inspection Post (BIP) status to enable a faster transit of consignments out of the Port of Dover (which currently does not have a BCP).
PML said the move signals a significant industry development, enabling PML customers to avoid the excessive well documented delays associated with freight traffic in and out of Dover and therefore extend the shelf life of any temperature sensitive cargo (which represents PML’s core business), by up to four hours.

PML signed contracts on the new warehouse on 28 May 2021 and anticipates that once the necessary refurbishments have been undertaken, the 24/7 operation which will handle daily consignments of food - for packing, loading and unloading - will be up and running in 16 weeks.

The business anticipates the new facility has the capacity to process 80-100 truck movements per day in its first phase of operation – which will focus on refrigerated goods only. This figure will increase during Phase 2 – which is likely to be in 18 months’ time - when ambient cargo will also be incorporated.

Sited at Lympne Distribution Park, PML’s latest venture comprises two purpose-built cold stores, 14 dock levellers to enable safe and time efficient loading and offloading, expansive parking (for up to 60 trailers) and generous office space. The company plans to spend around £1m on refurbishments to bring the building up to its exacting standards and to ensure best practice in the handling of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and flowers. This will include the creation of dedicated inspection areas and offices for customers.

The satellite site is likely to attract favour with the local community, not just as a result of the 30+ office and warehouse jobs that will be created but also because of the positive impact PML’s operations will have on reducing delays on the roads within the area, caused by queuing freight traffic.

Commenting on the news, managing director Mike Parr said: “This is a massive step for PML and once again demonstrates our commitment to spearheading new initiatives which challenge the status quo. The new site is located just two miles from Junction 11 of the M20 and really couldn’t offer a more desirable location.

'In addition to proximity to the ports and Heathrow, we anticipate that haulage drivers will also appreciate the efficient and seamless service we will be able to deliver, enabling them to leave the trailer onsite while they take a rest break, as opposed to sitting in a queue worrying about the lengthy delays which could seriously impact on the condition of their perishable cargo. This will be a totally unique facility – there is nothing else that compares with it in the area - and we are excited to be the force behind such a major industry development.”