Logistics researcher Andrew Morgan is embarking on an ambitious new project to understand how fresh produce supply chains are adapting to new trading environments and regulatory regimes post-Brexit.

Firstly, Morgan will assess the state of play in 2023 and how Brexit has already affected fruit and vegetable imports, before producing four quarterly reports, for publication by FPJ from June 2024 onwards.

The main audience is expected to be strategic decision-makers in commercial sectors including growers, cargo owners, importers, exporters, agents, terminal operators, shipping lines, airlines, and temperature-controlled storage or transport operators.

However, the research will also be of value to banks and insurers working with fresh produce companies, as well as government policy makers.

From a product perspective, the focus will be on highly perishable categories, namley baby leaf salad, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, and berries.

The study will cover produce produced both in European and the rest of the world, bearing in mind the integration with UK domestic production as growing seasons shift.

With the UK’s Border Target Operating Model set to roll out from January 2024 – following multiple delays to the introduction of border checks – Morgan and his team at logistics advisory Global 78 will explore how the new border controls on various goods will affect the overall logistics environment. 

Under the government’s latest plans, published in August, fresh fruit and vegetables arriving from the EU will be exempt from pre-notification requirements and UK border inspections, but Morgan warns there could still be a knock-on effect on fresh produce logistics. 

Commenting on the project, Morgan said: “One of the key objectives is to have a comprehensive and coherent understanding of what is going to be happen throughout 2024 and to get that by having a good understanding of the framework we’ve currently got.

“We’ll get strong political views either for or against Brexit, but we want to put those to one side. We’re very much taking the line of ’we are where we are’.”

He added: “We’ve already got a lot of uncertainty in the industry and people are trying to make strategic plans to devise new contracts going forward. That’s easier said than done if things are shifting all the time.”

With the project still in its infancy, Morgan is searching for fresh produce suppliers, importers, exporters and logistics firms to collaborate with on the research. Participation is being sought from as wide a spectrum of stakeholders as possible.

Sponsorship will be invited from a limited number of companies and organisations, bearing in mind the need to maintain independence, impartiality, and political neutrality.

If you are interested in being involved in the project and helping to make it a success, please contact Morgan at amorgan@global78.co.