Medicines and medical goods which are at risk of shortage will be transported to the UK within days through a new international transport system, the government has announced.

The International Express Freight Service has launched to deliver products to the UK rapidly when a supplier’s own logistical arrangements are disrupted, to ensure patients can continue to access the treatments they need.

This will help support supply chain resilience in the UK and mitigate potential shortages.

The service will aim to collect and deliver small parcels within 24 – 48 hours and pallets or shipments within 2-4 working days, with specialised products with a controlled or regulated handling requirement fast-tracked within 24 hours.

Health Minister Edward Argar said:

Our absolute priority is to help ensure NHS patients can always access the treatments they need without delay.

Global supply chains are unpredictable and our new International Express Freight Service will rapidly transport medical products in shortage to the UK within days.

We are committed to building back stronger from the pandemic, and more resilient supply chains are a crucial part of that.

The International Express Freight Service is part of the Department of Health and Social Care’s National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR) Centre to help ensure the continuity of medicines and medical supplies in the event a supplier’s own logistical arrangements are disrupted.

Following an open procurement process, Kuehne+Nagel International will operate the new service for the UK government.

Stuart Innes, Air Logistics Director for UK for Kuehne+Nagel International, said:

Kuehne+Nagel are committed to ensuring the UK public continue to receive the treatment they need, when they need it most.

We are immensely proud to be providing the logistical support behind the International Express Freight Service for the Department of Health and Social Care, applying our expertise, capabilities and robust global network to transport critical medical supplies.


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