Coronavirus Crisis – UK Operations Update

Coronavirus Crisis – UK Operations Update
March 27, 2020 Hannah Marshallsay
coronavirus crisis update

We are taking steps to ensure procedures are in place so that our UK operation is maintained whilst complying with all government measures.

PFE’s Operations 

For all our UK operation locations, we have implemented actions according to recommendations from the government. Our offices are operating with a skeleton staff where it is absolutely necessary, but all other members of the PFE team are working from home with full access to company systems. You will be able to reach your usual contacts by phone just as if they were in the office. We do not anticipate any notable impact to our customers.

PFE IT Capability

Our IT team constantly review our Disaster Recovery plan to ensure that the PFE staff can manage our global operation with the vast majority of individuals working from home during any unforeseen situation.

At PFE we have always made digital innovation one of our priorities and as a result of investment in IT over the last ten years we have to been able to maintain our operations with staff working from home and the business operating without any potential risk. 

We have recently updated our infrastructure systems which use the latest hyperconverged technology. This has enabled us to deploy our operations to the home working environment quickly and easily. Our systems also have the ability to scale up, should there be the need to as a result of increased demand. All of our systems are reliable and secure as we use a Cloud Backup / Disaster Recovery  service providing the ability to reduce any interruptions in service. Despite the current challenges, we will continue continue to invest in our IT capability during the next six months.

We encourage our customers to continue to use PFE Vision to track their consignments as usual.

Important Information about UK VAT

We have received a number of enquiries asking whether the deferral mentioned last week would apply to Import VAT/Import Duty. In our understanding this is not the case and Import VAT/Import Duty will be collected as usual until further notice.  

Please be aware that the BIFA Secretariat has asked HMRC last week whether a similar measure would be introduced for Import VAT/Duty collection. We have been assured that HMRC are considering all measures and are currently consulting them with their legal teams. We will provide further updates as and when they become available.

Impact to the UK Supply Chain

Please see below a summary of the factors creating the biggest impact to the UK supply chain at this time:

Air Freight

The suspension of most passenger flights has adversely affected the level of supply available in the air freight market. Any space available has been prioritised for medical supplies. Both of these factors has has resulted in air freight rates rocketing. Further information can be found here.

Sea Freight

The ports at Felixstowe and Southampton remain open and are taking measures to ensure that they remain fully operational. Quayside and landside workforces are being segregated into shift teams to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. This system has been bedded-in and is working well. We still expect that operations at ports may be slightly slowed by intermittent closure for deep cleaning. The situation is being kept under continuous review at all ports and we will update you if anything changes.


We continue to operate our transport distribution service across the country as normal.


We appreciate your ongoing support and would like to say thank you to all of our customers for working together with us during this challenging period. We will endeavour to keep you informed of any further changes to the situation in the next few weeks.

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