Expert Logistics company, DHL and London-based logistics startup Zencargo have joined hands with doctor-founded crowd funding campaign ‘Masks For NHS Heroes’ to create a brand new supply chain for procuring life-saving Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline NHS staff.
As the NHS attempts to deal with the spread of COVID-19, their supply chains are under more pressure than ever before. As is the case in many countries, the UK is suffering a critical shortage of PPE, including face masks, visors, surgical gowns and gloves. These tools are essential for limiting the risk of contracting COVID-19 while working in close contact with infected patients.
In order to support the government and the NHS, the grassroots campaign set up by a group of doctors, is finding alternative ways to respond to the shortage of PPE through suppliers in China.
Speaking about the collaboration, Zencargo CEO Alex Hersham said, “In this uncertain time, supply chains are more important than ever, especially when it comes to those risking their health on the front line in the fight against this disease. We’re proud to be doing our part to support our NHS, and help ‘Masks For NHS Heroes’ continue their incredible work.”
In just over one week ‘Masks for NHS Heroes’ has raised over GBP 1.5 million, including notable celebrity donations. James McAvoy, who has been sharing video updates on the campaign across his social media, has contributed GBP 275,000. The money raised has been used to secure an initial order of 100,000 medical-grade protective eye-shields from accredited manufacturers in China.
Creating a new supply chain
The procurement of PPE has become especially challenging in recent weeks due to an unprecedented global demand. This has also been exacerbated by lockdowns in India, a major producer of PPE, and strict quality control processes recently implemented in China, aimed at preventing the export of non-medical grade equipment.
Working directly with teams on the ground in China, including the British Consulate, Zencargo was able to rapidly arrange key customs clearances and quality control assurances, in addition to securing exemptions from duties, in order to ensure the fastest delivery possible in the UK. Due to severe shortages of air freight capacity, the goods needed to be transported on three different flights from China to London.
DHL will then assume control of the distribution of the PPE once it lands in London. Using their vast distribution network, they will navigate all of the challenges in delivering PPE to a large number of hospitals over Easter weekend during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“As we move forward, it’s incumbent on logistics and supply chain businesses to use their skills and networks to open doors for these essential goods and do what they can to keep people safe,” Hersham continued.