Head Office, 17-27 Queen's Square
17-27 Queen's Square
Middlesbrough
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As the COVID19 pandemic continues to create challenges for the UK economy, PD Ports, as a key piece of national infrastructure, has continued operating as normal to keep vital UK supply chains moving and supermarket shelves shocked.

At the heart of the UK’s largest port, our BRC accredited warehousing facility at Felixstowe – which is the largest undercover facility on the port estate – is home to vast amounts of food products, cosmetics, white goods and bikes.

As lockdown ensued earlier this year, we experienced a huge upsurge in demand for the items we handle, particularly tinned foods and toilet rolls as people stocked up in preparation for the unknown.

We caught up with Jamie Collins, a Team Leader based in Felixstowe, to discuss the impact the pandemic has had on his daily duties and responsibilities as PD Ports continues working to keep the country moving.

So Jamie, how did your role change as the pandemic started to take hold in the UK?

Here in Felixstowe we have recently gained a large new client and it just so happened that the ‘go live’ date for this contract coincided with the start of lockdown back in March, so that created some additional pressure from the get go!

With some staff isolating and shielding, as per government guidelines, I was asked to train staff from other parts of the warehouse to support in delivering the customer’s expectations and keep up with increased levels of demand. I also spent more time in daily meetings to ensure I had all the right information to update my team on the precautions that PD Ports was putting in place to safeguard us at work.

By the nature of our role, we were identified by the Government as key workers and I believe that my colleagues and I really lived up to that title, it was almost as if it was our call of duty to supply these much-needed products, such as toilet roll, hand sanitiser and flour, to the nation.

How did PD Ports support you and your role during such difficult times?

I felt a big responsibility as a Team Leader to ensure my team were comfortable with what was required of them, whilst feeling protected and safeguarded whilst at work.

PD Ports has been excellent with keeping us up to date and informed with regular bulletins, as well as implementing numerous safety measures to protect all staff who still had to come on site to carry out their role. The Company also offered everyone the use of a confidential employee advice helpline to offer additional support for those who needed it.

I definitely feel that PD Ports as a whole, including here at Felixstowe, came together during such a challenging period to work together and support one another. People remained fully committed to their roles and even took on additional responsibilities to ensure we continued to operate as usual.

I am incredibly hopeful for the future and believe that now, more than ever, we can continue working together as one unit to get the job done.

What safety measures have been implemented in the warehouse and do you feel safe going in to the workplace to carry out your role?

Hand sanitising stations have been introduced at all main site entrances and exits, and accompanying signage is in place to remind everyone to wash their hands regularly.

We are also adhering to the 2m social distancing policy and have added floor markings throughout the warehouse to guide people on what is an acceptable distance to remain apart from each other whilst on site. Cleaning products are also provided and we are required to clean down all equipment before and after use.

In break areas, it’s one person per table and we’re staggering break times to avoid having too many people in an enclosed space at any one time. PD Ports has also introduced additional cleaning regimes to ensure the whole site, including break rooms, is kept as clean and sterile as possible.

Everyone is really on board with the protocols that are in place, which is great. PD Ports has been very vigilant when adapting to new guidance and advice and, with such stringent safety measures in place, we have every reason to feel safe at work and going home to our families.

Any closing remarks, Jamie?

It’s been great to be involved and help to write this piece!

Everyone within PD Ports, not just at Felixstowe, should have a great sense of pride in what we have all achieved in what have been the most challenging circumstances in our time.

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