The logistics company that mishandled KFC’s UK supply chain contract, causing a nationwide chicken shortage for the fast food giant in February last year, has been given an essential medicines contract by the British government in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The contract was brought up by a member of parliament during ‘Prime Minister’s Questions’ in the UK’s House of Commons on Wednesday. However, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has pushed back against the decision, saying that there is no risk to the NHS’ supplies.
“In the event of a no-deal Brexit the government has just decided that imports of medical supplies are to be handled by the same company that forced hundreds of restaurants to close because it was incapable of delivering chicken to KFC,” said Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.
The company she was referring to is DHL Supply Chain. KFC switched their logistics contract to DHL in February last year, and due to WMS and delivery problems, 500 KFC branches were forced to close for more than week.
DHL Supply Chain has been chosen to oversee the supply of one-off medical products the NHS orders directly from suppliers in Europe.
The UK government has asked drug companies to make sure they have an additional six-week supply of drugs in case of any disruption.
A Department for Health spokesperson said it was "misleading" to compare the delivery of chicken with medical supplies.
“DHL is one of the biggest logistics companies in the world and since 2006 has provided services for a range of products for the NHS,” said UK health minister Stephen Hammond.
DHL Supply Chain also released a statement, pointing out that the NHS contract was the kind of work in which the group is extremely experienced.
“DHL Supply Chain has successfully managed the NHS Supply Chain business for the past 12 years, delivering market leading productivity, safety and quality, while consistently surpassing customer targets,” it said.
"We have an inherent understanding of the handling required to facilitate this new contract and have partnered with our wider group encompassing Express, Freight and Global Forwarding, who are all market leaders in their respective fields, to ensure successful delivery."
Brexit is the process of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, its largest trade partner, and no-deal refers to the process of this happening without any contingency trade, customs and other political agreements in place.