May 17, 2020

COVID-19: UK Logistics workers classed as ‘key workers’

Georgia Wilson
3 min
multiple logistics transportation methods
As the coronavirus continues to spread within the UK, logistics workers have been classified as key workers.

Following the UK’s announcement at 8:30P...

As the coronavirus continues to spread within the UK, logistics workers have been classified as key workers.

Following the UK’s announcement at 8:30PM (UK Time) on March 23, in which Boris Johnson, placed strict new regulations on the citizens of the UK, in which anyone who is not a key worker must remain at home, unless they are traveling to the shop for necessities, exercise, caring for vulnerable people or have medical needs. 

Today it has been reported that UK logistics workers have been considered a ‘key worker’ within the COVID-19 government pandemic plan, something which has been welcomed by the Freight Transportation Association (FTA) alongside other trading bodies.

“Today’s announcement is great news for FTA and its members, who are currently working under extreme pressure to ensure the resilience of the UK’s supply chain,” says Elizabeth de Jong, FTA’s policy director. “Over the past few days, our team has made urgent approaches to the Secretary of State and Ministers to call for an all-encompassing definition that recognises the vital nature of roles in logistics and we are delighted that our request has been acknowledged at the highest level. It is also encouraging that logistics workers are now recognised as ‘key’, to help them play their part in the industry’s efforts to maintain vital supply chains.”


As part of this definition as ‘key workers’ those within the logistics industry can apply for access to schooling for their children during the COVID-19 response period, a welcome relief for those who are currently dedicated to working round the clock to maintain a resilient supply chain as much as possible. “Their efforts are vital to the continued provision of goods and services to all the elements of the UK economy,” continues de Jong.

Those within logistics that will be keeping their transport modes open during the crisis include the following: air, water, road, rail passenger and freight transport.

In addition, those who are working on the transport system, which supply chains pass along, including food and goods for distribution, sale and delivery, as well as other key goods are included on the list of ‘key workers’.

“Logistics workers are the unsung heroes in today’s economy, ensuring that shops, schools and hospitals, as well as manufacturing and our homes, have the products they need, when they need them,” continues de Jong. “Today’s announcement is a very welcome recognition of this role, and will give reassurance to those working so hard to keep Britain trading under such challenging circumstances.”

To discover the expectations for the supply chain following the end to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, check out our article on global supply chains to see a major reshuffle.

“We are going to see massive restructuring of supply chains,” “I don’t think things will return to normal as we’ve known them over the last couple of decades,” commented Alex Capri,from the National University of Singapore’s business school on the topic of supply chains reshuffling following the end to the outbreak. “We are in a completely different new era now and globalisation as we’ve known it in the past is over.”

spread of COVID-19

Image source: CNBC

For more information on procurement, supply chain and logistics topics - please take a look at the latest edition of Supply Chain Digital magazine.

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Aug 4, 2021

DHL Express Invests in Electric Cargo Plane Fleet

3 min
DHL Express has ordered 12 electric cargo planes from Eviation as part of its €7bn decarbonisation and sustainability programme

DHL Express has ordered 12 fully electric cargo planes to supercharge efforts in reducing carbon emissions across its US delivery network. 

The Alice eCargo planes are manufactured by Seattle startup Eviation, and are designed specifically to be configured for either cargo or passengers. The first planes are expected to be delivered to DHL Express in 2024. 

“We have found the perfect partner with Eviation as they share our purpose, and together we will take off into a new era of sustainable aviation,” said John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express. 

The purchase forms part of DHL’s €7bn investment in reducing CO2 emissions by 2030, with a zero emissions target set for 2050.  

“We firmly believe in a future with zero-emission logistics,” Pearson added. “On our way to clean logistics operations, the electrification of every transport mode plays a crucial role and will significantly contribute to our overall sustainability goal of zero emissions.”


What is Eviation's Alice Aircraft? 


  • Manufacturer: Eviation
  • Capacity: 1,200kg
  • Range: 815km
  • Charge time: 30 minutes
  • Launching: 2024

Eviation’s Alice aircraft enable cargo and passenger airlines to operate zero-emission fleets. The plane can be flown by one pilot and is capable of carrying 1,200kg, with a maximum range of 815km. 

The aircraft can be fully charged in 30 minutes, which can take place while the vehicle is loaded and unloaded between flights. Eviation says that, because the aircraft has fewer moving parts - or points of failure - than traditional aircraft, they are more reliable and reduce maintenance overheads and downtime. 

“With Alice’s range and capacity, this is a fantastic sustainable solution for our global network,” said Travis Cobb, EVP Global Network Operations and Aviation for DHL Express. “Our aspiration is to make a substantial contribution in reducing our carbon footprint, and these advancements in fleet and technology will go a long way in achieving further carbon reductions.” 

How Does Alice Compare with UPS’ eVTOLs? 

DHL Express is not alone in electrifying the skies. In April, UPS announced a new fleet of eVTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) aircraft, from Beta Technologies, which will enter service in 2024. 


UPS’ vehicles can carry 635kg with a 400km range and cruising speeds of up to 170mph. The eVTOLs can carry cargo to several short-hops or one long route on a single charge, and are aimed at healthcare organisation, SMEs and businesses in small or remote communities. 

“These new aircraft will create operational efficiencies in our business, open possibilities for new services, and serve as a foundation for future solutions to reduce the emissions profile of our air and ground operation,” said Juan Perez, UPS Chief Information and Engineering Officer. 

The first 10 eVTOLs will be delivered in 2024, with the option for UPS to order up to 150 more. 

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