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Coronavirus: Asos’ logistics firm to deliver protective equipment for NHS

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
A nurse adjusts her face mask before taking swabs at a coronavirus testing centre in Chessington in Surrey, England. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Clipper Logistics (CLG.L), known for providing logistics services to fast-fashion retailers like Asos (ASC.L) and Boohoo (BOO.L), said on Friday that it had been awarded the contract to deliver personal protective equipment to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).

The company said that it had “rapidly mobilised its warehousing and fulfilment operations” in order to provide the equipment, known as PPE, during the coronavirus pandemic.

Concerns have been raised in recent days about a PPE shortage in the UK, with healthcare workers warning that hospitals do not yet have adequate supplies of face masks, goggles, visors, and gowns to protect them from being infected with the virus.

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The government and NHS in recent days have organised the delivery of batches of PPE to hospitals across the country, with the army being drafted in to help manage and distribute the supplies.

Clipper said it had already begun delivering PPE to NHS Hospital Trusts and other healthcare providers across the UK.

The firm specialises in fast-moving fashion, shoe, and accessories logistics, and its end-to-end solutions have seen it win significant business from high street and online fashion retailers in recent years.

The Leeds-based firm has been contracted by John Lewis, Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L), Asos and the Pretty Little Things division of Boohoo.

Clipper said that it took just five days to mobilise a solution for delivering PPE, including a full management system for over 200,000 sq ft of warehousing space.

“These are unprecedented times,” said Steve Parkin, the executive chairman of Clipper.

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“The solution has required tremendous flexibility and a shared sense of purpose and support in these challenging times.”

Trade union Unite, the British Medical Association (BMA), and the Royal College of Nursing on Friday called for leading UK manufacturers to use spare capacity to produce “desperately needed” PPE equipment for healthcare workers.

“Doctors, healthcare workers and carers are risking their lives day-to-day in the battle against COVID-19. They must be protected with proper PPE so they can stay healthy to care for patients safely and stop the spread of this deadly virus,” said David Wrigley, the deputy chair of the BMA.