From a makeshift office in the Gloucestershire market town of Cirencester, James Wroath has been trying to keep supermarket shelves filled. The boss of supplier Wincanton has been working from home, relying on phone and video conferencing to keep Britain’s biggest logistics company moving. “Most of the time in crises you want to get out there and this is the opposite of what you’re allowed to do,” he said.
The coronavirus has heaped pressure on complex supply chains that stretch across borders and rely on a fine sequence to ensure products from medicines to vegetables arrive in time. The past few weeks of empty shelves, stripped bare by panic buying, and online food delivery websites crashing, have raised questions about the resilience of those chains.