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FSB highlights Channel crossing concerns

Friday July 31st 2015

Keltic Seafare

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has written to the Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell MP urging action to resolve the difficulties Scottish exporters are facing at the Channel crossings.

Highlighting member concerns, the small business membership body writes of the significant disruption caused by both ferry strikes and direct action by French farmers. Further, on a UK-wide basis, the FSB has raised concerns about Operation Stack and has pressed HM Government to make the resolution of problems at the Channel a top priority.

Andy Willox, the FSB’s Scottish policy convenor, said: “For many Scots, the problems at the Channel crossings might seem like a remote concern. But we fear that there may be a knock-on impact on Scottish suppliers and therefore many Scottish local economies.

“We understand that these are complex problems but we have to see the UK Government stretching every fibre to solve this problem for Scottish exporters. While this problem is particularly acute for firms that supply perishable or seasonable produce – such as fruit farmers or fish suppliers – long term disruption will no doubt harm customer-supplier relationships for many firms selling overseas.”

Ben Murray, managing director of Keltic Seafare a Dingwall-based Scottish seafood supplier who has faced disruption said: “Keltic Seafare supplies many of Britain and Europe’s finest restaurants with hand-dived scallops, creel caught langoustines, lobsters and seasonal products, and it also supplies supermarkets and wholesalers, here and on the Continent. We’re a Highland success story and it is therefore frustrating to see our prospects undermined by circumstances so far from our control.

“The situation for my business, and similar operators, is becoming increasingly serious. Our produce may be consistently outstanding but our customers must receive it on time if they are to remain customers.”

 

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