Freight transport disruption a major issue in recent Channel Tunnel closures; threat to automotive supply chain averted

Press Release

Responsive air charters intercept road and rail freight as part of multifaceted contingency action by emergency logistics specialist

Emergency logistics specialist Evolution Time Critical averted production crises for a number of vehicle manufacturers during the recent sustained period of Channel Tunnel delays. The interrupted service, sparked by a lorry fire on January 17 and lasting for more than a week, resulted in a number of OEMs and tier suppliers having to implement supply chain contingency measures to prevent production line stoppages.

With shipments delayed in the Tunnel gridlock for up to 12 hours, Evolution Time Critical intercepted and redirected inbound deliveries through private jet charter for a number of vehicle manufacturers. “Nobody anticipated that the freight delays would be so long following the initial fire, which made emergency logistics expertise an essential time-sensitive response to safeguard supply chain activity,” says Evolution Time Critical managing director, Brad Brennan. “One of the benefits of having long-term working relationships with customers is that, in such situations, an existing familiarity with their supply chain activity allows Evolution to swiftly assess and implement the most suitable recourse. Our 24-hour Control Centre is tailor-made for handling large-scale disruption of this type and help avoid supply chain collapse.”

As well as upgrading van deliveries to jet charters, Evolution Time Critical implemented a range of solutions for a number of customers, depending on individual supply chain circumstances. These included air charters direct from supplier plants in Europe, and even intercepting trailers with shipments already en-route in order to transfer small quantities of components for air charter, in some cases providing a door-to-door service in under 5 hours. Evolution’s immediate access to all types of road transport solutions was also called upon to maintain flow of manufacturer milk-runs: “A number of customers found conventional milk-run deliveries were unable to collect from suppliers without significant knock-on delays to the supply chain,” explains Brennan. “We commissioned multiple fresh trailers to make collections, which meant the trailers caught up in the mêlée leaving the UK could return to position and prepare for a normal schedule the following day.”

During the Tunnel delays and in the aftermath, Evolution Time Critical was able to apply its analytic expertise and agility, not only reacting to supply chain jeopardy but also working with its clients to provide a proactive contingency that safeguards production.

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