Freight companies are managing peak-level demand for groceries created by the likelihood of an extended COVID-19 lock-down, through greater cooperation and contingency measures, including moving driver and vehicle resource from manufacturing-based customers to food and drink.
UK logistics firms and their customers are working together to meet the current unusually high demands of increased food and drink volumes triggered by panic buying by coronavirus-linked consumers, according to one of the industry’s leading operators.
EV Cargo Logistics is reporting volumes at similar peak levels those normally seen in the run-up to Christmas, as the UK experiences a significant spike in consumer spending across the grocery sector. The company said it was working with subcontractors and other hauliers to help deliver increased volumes while liaising closely with customers – many of which have relaxed timed-slot restrictions.
The freight and logistics company said that despite operational challenges, there was “clear evidence of a collaborative spirit across the industry as a whole”.
This week, for example, a call from EV Cargo Logistics business Jigsaw for hauliers with spare capacity generated over 150 responses in just 48 hours; and haulage subsidiary CM Downton has moved driver and vehicle resource from manufacturing-based customers to food and drink, EV Cargo said.
To ensure it has the capacity to deliver over this period, EV Cargo said it had implemented “its comprehensive business continuity plans – including splitting planning teams across a number of depots, segregating staff teams and supporting colleagues with enhanced health and safety procedures”.
Duncan Eyre, EV Cargo Logistics chief executive, said: “Driven by the increased demand for groceries created by the likelihood of an extended COVID-19 lock-down, our current food and beverage volumes are at Christmas levels. We’re working closely with other quieter hauliers and traction providers to manage the situation and there’s a different atmosphere across the industry – a real spirit of everyone cooperating and collaborating to ensure the shelves stay full. Our grocery customers have relaxed delivery slot restrictions and are working closely with us to manage volumes.”