Keelings say companies will have to be ready to react in case of no-deal Brexit

Keelings say companies will have to be ready to react in case of no-deal Brexit

Keelings fruit producers have been preparing for Brexit since 2016 but they still expect to face many unknown challenges following a UK-crash out.

With just nine weeks left until the Brexit deadline, Caroline Keeling, CEO of Keelings said there is still uncertainty around customs and checks which she said companies will have to be ready to react quickly to in the case of a no-deal.

"There's going to be a lot of things that are going to happen that we're just going to have to react to. So the key thing is that we have all the things done that we can do, having the best software systems in place, etc, so we can then link up with whatever might be required."

The family-owned company sells produce in 12 countries and employs more than 2,300 people, growing €30m worth of produce on 500 acres in north Dublin.

Ms Keeling said availing of Government supports as early as possible is very important and that the company received valuable advice from Bord Bia another State organisations.

"As a fresh produce company, supply chain speed is vitally important to our business. While maintaining the UK land-bridge is critically important, we have planned for a series of contingency transport routes throughout mainland European ports, to ensure we maintain customer service and freshness."

Ms Keeling encouraged all other businesses to seek advice, support and funding from State agencies on how to prepare for Brexit. She said the producer availed of Enterprise Ireland's 'Customs and Logistics Consultation service' over the last 12 months to de-risk their supply chain from a no-deal Brexit which is critical in ensuring customers have the freshest produce.

Meanwhile, The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) has called for "calm heads" in the coming weeks amid the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. IRHA president, Verona Murphy, said: "There has been a substantial amount of work carried out to prepare for a range of eventualities on Brexit, including a no-deal Brexit. The IRHA, along with national retailers, exporters and agencies, has been involved in a range of discussions with Government departments and agencies to ensure that all possible contingency measures are in place to deal with Brexit. It is vitally important that we concentrate on the finalisation of our preparations in a focused, clear and determined manner."

"It is also important that commentators, whether from the political or business sectors, do not give succour to those within the British government who are intent on trying to create havoc and disruption through their determination to crash out of the EU without a deal."

Retailers have also moved to assure the public that there are comprehensive plans in place to protect supplies in the case of a hard Brexit.

Responding to reports of possible disruption to food supplies to retailers, director of Retail Ireland, Thomas Burke, said: “Consumers can rest assured, Irish retailers have comprehensive contingency plans in place to ensure supply continuity in all Brexit scenarios. Suggestions to the contrary are totally inaccurate. While the prospect of a no-deal Brexit brings many challenges to the supply chain, retailers have spent the last two years putting in place detailed plans to address these.”

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