Last reviewed 29 April 2020

Vital routes for supplies will be protected through a coronavirus support package to keep the flow of goods and services running smoothly in and out of the UK, and around the country, throughout the pandemic.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced a multi-million financial package for essential freight services which includes:

  • up to £17 million for critical routes between Northern Ireland and Great Britain

  • up to £10.5 million for lifeline ferry and freight services to the Isle of Wight and the Scilly Isles

  • further support for 26 routes between Britain, France, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden, including Eurotunnel.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, said: “Essential supplies are continuing to flow well, but operators are facing challenges as fewer people travelling means less capacity to move goods. Today’s action will help ensure all parts of the UK have the capacity they need.”

The funding will ensure the ongoing supply of critical goods into the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, with up to 31 routes eligible for support, subject to discussions with operators.

The UK is working closely alongside French and Irish partners and has pledged in a joint statement to “strengthen partnership and share best practices”, to ensure the continued movement of freight across the continent.

See https://www.gov.uk/government/news/freight-transport-in-the-context-of-covid-19-joint-statement-by-the-united-kingdom-france-and-ireland for the full text of their statement.

The DfT has also announced that thousands of volunteers, vehicles, aircraft and ships from the transport sector have been placed on standby in a new Transport Support Unit (TSU) to assist frontline responders during the crisis across the whole of the UK.

“Now more than ever we need to work closely together,” Mr Shapps said, “and the new Transport Support Unit stands ready to help our frontline staff and deliver crucial supplies.”