CEVA logistics transports shipment bound for NHS on a special flight

Published: Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Supporting the UK Government’s initiative to bring all UK healthcare distribution under one umbrella during the COVID-19 crisis, CEVA Logistics has brought in shipments bound for the NHS (National Health Service) on a specialist flight from Shanghai to London. Supporting the work of the charitable Virgin Foundation, a Virgin Atlantic B787-9 fully loaded with PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), virus testing tubes, goggles and ventilator parts landed at Heathrow Airport on Friday evening, bringing the much-needed supplies to UK frontline healthcare workers.

Worldwide shortages of specialist medical equipment and personal protective wear have resulted in huge demand for multiple items. In just seven days from receiving the first phone call to arriving at destination, CEVA’s teams in the UK and Shanghai worked together to bring almost 1,100 cartons of supplies on the special flight. Altogether there were 12,600 medical isolation goggles, 500 body bags, 30,000 filters for ventilators, 100,000 aprons, 10,000 sets of scrubs and 7,500 samples tubes for virus testing onboard.

Once unloaded from the 12-hour flight, the cargo transferred onto CEVA Logistics trucks, headed for its specialist healthcare facility in Dartford. From there the supplies will be distributed to NHS hospitals, surgeries and other facilities including, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals Trust in London.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ is among the UK’s busiest NHS Foundation Trusts and one of the largest in the country. Its supply chain team operate the largest hospital inventory system in Europe with a track record for innovation and service improvement. The Trust has an annual turnover of £1.5 billion and employs over 16,200 staff. Over the last year CEVA has worked to build a trusting relationship with GSTT, through which it not only develops a robust healthcare supply chain, but also supports GSTT focus on improving patient outcomes.

Special UK CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) permission had to be obtained by Virgin Atlantic to carry part of the shipment on the seats of its passenger cabin, with the rest of the cargo in the belly of the aircraft.

Says CEVA’s CEO, Mathieu Friedberg, “These medical supplies and PPE equipment are urgently required to support the work that NHS teams are providing up and down the country during the COVID-19 crisis. Our CEVA teams at both ends of the supply chain, alongside the Virgin team providing the uplift and the Virgin Foundation, have worked together tirelessly to make this become a reality in an incredibly short timeframe.”

Steve Buckerfield, director sales, Cargo at Virgin Atlantic, adds, “We’re proud to have joined forces with the CEVA Logistics teams in Shanghai and London to expedite this urgently-needed shipment of medical equipment to the heroes working in the NHS. At a time when frontline doctors and nurses are working so hard to save lives, it’s essential they have the supplies they need to stay safe and to protect patients in their care.

“With medical supplies being sourced from around the world, the air cargo and logistics industries have a vital role to play in making sure equipment reaches where it is required safely and immediately to help save the lives of patients and reduce the spread of COVID-19. I also want to say a massive ‘thank you’ to the Virgin Atlantic team who enabled us to complete this special flight for the NHS so quickly and efficiently.”