Date: 18.06.2020

PPE shipping is evolving

The transport of personal protective equipment (PPE) and essential medical products, particularly from China, may be less frenetic than at the pandemic’s peak, but it remains continuous and is just as critical, with Metro already successfully importing and distributing over 200 million units throughout Europe and UK.

In the last few month’s the Metro team in the UK and at origin, have overcome a multitude of challenges to keep the most essential of supply chains running, including; desperate shortages of capacity, haggling over charters, changing export processes and delays at origins and destinations.

Having used charters (mainly wide-bodied converted PAX ‘preighters’) freighters, pure freighters and remaining scheduled airline capacity, the critical PPE demand is beginning to subside and global air freight capacity is slowly recovering from below unprecedented lows.

While global demand is generally stabilising, individual items can be in short supply, requiring the most urgent transport, particularly when there’s a medical dimension.

Nitrile gloves are most commonly used in the medical sector due to their high puncture resistance, and dexterous strength and are in hugely short supply, which is why Metro’s latest chartered aircraft is carrying 100 million gloves and masks.

In addition to stocking the NHS, Metro has been supplying retail clients with PPE ahead of re-opening their retail sites and manufacturers ahead of opening plants across Europe.

Until scheduled passenger capacity recovers further, charters will continue to be a strategic choice for the most urgent and biggest requirements, but with the establishment of sustained supply chains for most medical products over the last two months, sea freight is being widely used.

Metro have dedicated PPE and medical goods task team, that have been established over the crisis offering solutions by all modes of transport.