During the entire lockdown period they were, and continue to be, crucial links in a value chain that has been severely tested yet indispensable in guaranteeing the continuity of certain essential operations. The logistics, transport and packaging sectors, at times disregarded and even disparaged, have proven their worth.
As an illustration, on 19 March, several days after lockdown came into force in France, the prime minister Edouard Philippe stated during Government Questions, that: “When a logistics chain is interrupted, when a factory that produces paper or cardboard or packaging stops working, people think ‘packaging isn’t strategically important for the country.’ But once you no longer have this packaging factory, you find yourself in a situation where you can no longer prepare the way in which food, masks or medicines are distributed. And consequently, you find yourself in an extremely perilous material situation. In other words, it is absolutely vital that, even during lockdown, we maintain the minimum amount of economic activity necessary for the life of the country and to prepare for the recovery.”
Initiatives by transport, packaging and logistics firms
Packing masks in conditions compliant with the required public health standards, producing visors, supplying bottles for hand sanitiser: an array of initiatives were conducted by groups from the packaging world, like for example at JPJ Mousse, based in Aillant-sur-Tholon, who decided to start designing spray-proof foam face visors.
In logistics and transport, many firms took steps and concrete action to offer their help during the crisis. By way of example, the company GT Logistics contributed to distributing masks to hospitals with the CEA Saclay research and innovation centre. Meanwhile, the logistics firm Gefco coordinated the dispatch of medical equipment from France to a range of countries. In parallel, Hellomoov’, a specialist in conveyors and modular solutions, together with its partners Akeoplus and Pharmaplan, launched a robot dedicated to disinfecting and decontaminating surfaces to deal with Covid-19.
Hard-hit industries in search of aid or recognition
In the frontline to keep the economy ticking over, and mobilised to fight the pandemic, these packaging, logistics and transport sectors were nevertheless also hit hard by the crisis. Many requests have been made for aid and support, in particular to the government by the trade bodies representing the logistics and transport sector. And in the packaging field, certain maligned industries such as plastics now want to see their utility being openly acknowledged.