Birmingham-based freight forwarder, International Forwarding (IFL), has won an urgent, short-term, daily contract to deliver essential PPE goods from two UK airports on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care.
The contract is for haulage of PPE (personal protective equipment) freight from London Luton Airport and Birmingham Airport for delivery to the West Midlands. Goods will be delivered to an NHS-appointed warehouse in Daventry ready for distribution to hospitals and other medical facilities.
For the next two weeks, the company will be handling up to two flights a day from Turkey, one into each airport. Each flight carries up to 300 cubic metres of vital medical supplies. Road haulage will also be carried out by our sister company, RGF Logistics.
IFL Operations Director Trisha Slater said: “There is currently a massive influx of air freight cargo of PPE coming in from other countries to address recent PPE shortages. These need onward road freight distribution around the UK and it’s great that IFL is part of getting these urgent supplies to the frontline staff fighting the virus. It has certainly been taxing and requires our attention 24/7 but very rewarding to be able to do something for our wonderful NHS.”
Rob Pike, Managing Director, IFL, added: “We are working every day at the moment to keep supply chains moving for our customers. We’ve had a busy weekend in Luton as the first flights came in carrying tens of thousands of PPE items, mostly aprons and full-suits. As the health secretary has said, the logistics of getting this amount of protective equipment to keyworkers in the NHS requires a Herculean logistical effort. But we are up for the task.”
Getting the PPE supplies into the UK is just the start of the logistics process, which may start with air freight but then requires imports procedures, cargo handling, road freight, warehousing storage and onward deliveries.
“Once the goods arrive in the UK they then have to be made ready to be transported on trucks and split into consignments for delivery to hospitals, GP surgeries and other care facilities around the country,” said Rob Pike. “Supplies also need to be stockpiled, inventoried and stored ready to feed future demand. It is a national effort right now to get these goods to where they need to be but one we are proud to be a part of.”
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, more than 761 million items of PPE, including 158 million masks, one million gowns, 135 million aprons and 360 million pairs of gloves, have been delivered to the front line [source: DHSC, 4/5/20]. According to the Department of Health and Social Care, this has required a huge increase in the logistics capability going beyond supplying the 226 NHS trusts to include 58,000 healthcare settings including GPs, pharmacies and social care providers.
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