Larkhall: better service

Larkhall handles thousands of consignments for the Scottish seafood industry every year. They’re the UK’s main carrier of seafood to the continent and have contracts with all the big salmon exporters, as well as many smaller ones. With the consequences of Brexit kicking in on 1 January – mandatory import and export declarations, as well as health certificates for seafood – the Larkhall team decided to come up with solution that helps customers cut customs-related costs and keep their goods flowing: making Larkhall a one-stop shop for health certifications, at a competitive price.

“The initial system for anyone exporting seafood from the UK to the continent post-Brexit was to get a veterinarian or environmental health officer to inspect the goods and sign an Export Health Certificate locally at the production sites. These sites are scattered all over Scotland and a health certificate for just one consignment costs about 80 pounds,” says Head of DFDS Scotland and Northern Ireland Steve MacaulayNow that these health certificates will be required for all seafood consignments leaving the UK as of 1 Januarywe needed to come up with a solution which simplified the process, at a price that was manageable for all our customersregardless of their size,” he says. 


Health certification hub simplifies Brexit procedures for seafood customers 

Could we have the health certification process done in Larkhall, where seafood is consolidated prior to being dispatched to the continent? This idea was born two years ago and brought to fruition by the Larkhall cold chain team. “We wanted to simplify and streamline the certification process for our customers. Not only are these certifications difficult to get hold of, due to the lack of Scottish environmental health officers. For our smaller customers, attaining them would also come at a price that could put them off exporting seafood altogether, and we would lose their business,” Larkhall Export Operations Manager David Cranston says. 

“We have had long and productive talks with cabinet ministers, the Scottish government and Food Standards Scotland and can now finally offer our customers a one-stop shop for health certifications. There are two benefits for customers choosing this option. One is that we have environmental health officials onsite who perform the certification at the seafood’s point of departure as of 1 January. The second is that we’ve managed to come to an agreement with the government that means that rather having to produce one certificate per consignment – a load can consist of 15 to 30 consignments, at 80 pounds per document – the requirement is now a maximum of two health certificates per load, one per product type,” Steve says. 


First depot with this status 

Costs for customers are reduced 4 or 5 times by us moving to this new scenario where Larkhall is a health certification hub, David says. “All our customers benefit from the new arrangementIt means they can continue to send small consignments and simply pay a rate per kilo. The reduced number of certificates also simplifies procedures on the receiving end, as there will be less paperwork for customs officials to process.” 

Larkhall is the first depot in the UK to be named a health certification hub, and it’s the result of a great collaboration inside DFDS and externally with government bodies. “We’ve worked hard to get here and now we can finally say that we have an optimal setup in place to keep moving all our customers goods, at a competitive rate,” David says. 


December 14, 2020