A major freight company with 42 employees across the Channel Islands has become the latest casualty of covid-19.
In a statement released late last night, Paul Davis Freight Services (PDFS) CEO Andy Jehan (pictured top) said that the Directors of all Channel Island Lines group companies had decided they had “no alternative but to cease operations with immediate effect."
He said this was due to “very difficult trading conditions, as a direct result of the impacts of Covid-19 on current, and forecast, volumes and cash flow”.
Grant Thornton has been appointed to wind up the affairs of the group, which includes PDFS, Channel Islands Lines, Channel Island Lines (UK) Limited, and Channel Islands (Guernsey) Limited.
Pictured: PDFS has been supplying the Channel Islands for 40 years.
There will be 30 job losses in Jersey, 12 in Guernsey and 38 in the UK.
Mr Jehan said Grant Thornton would support the employees with their “statutory entitlements."
Customers with goods at the company’s depots in Jersey, Guernsey, Bristol and Southampton are being contacted to give them access to collect their goods.
Paul Davis Freight Services was founded in the 70s to provide distribution services to Northern and Southern Ireland, before expanding to the Channel Islands in the 80s where it has supplied magazine materials, clothing and groceries, among other items.
Video: A promotional video for Paul Davis Freight Services.
The company appointed a new CEO last year, shortly before merging with Channel Island Lines and rebranding to PDFS shortly before its 40th anniversary of serving Jersey and Guernsey.
The combined companies moved to a new purpose-built 40,000 square foot warehouse in Southampton last year.
In addition to rebranding, PDFS said it was also working on a number of other initiatives, including further technology improvements following the introduction of web-tracking in early 2019.
Pictured: PDFS' new branding.
News of the company’s collapse comes as the island enters the first chapter of a predicted recession.
The Fiscal Policy Panel, which advises the government on finances and taxation, forecast that the economy will contract by 6% overall, with significant job losses following.
The government’s Chief Executive, Charlie Parker, admitted on Friday that borrowing was likely the only way out of the inevitable black hole in the public purse.
The FPP also noted that the global health emergency would likely hit the supply chain.
Pictured: The FPP forecast a major economic downturn in Jersey due to corona virus.
“…Most of Jersey’s goods come from or through the UK and as the number of infections increases there, there is likely to be some disruption to either the production or transport of goods.
"This is in addition to the broader disruption already to global supply chains,” the panel explained.
Local logistics companies have been putting together contingency plans, with new procedures in place at collections and at receiving depots, as well as arrivals to minimise the potential spread of infection and disruption to retailers consumers.
Condor decided to cut passengers on its Portsmouth route and move to a freight-only service on its Clipper to bolster the supply chain.
Pictured: Condor cut passengers on its Portsmouth route to bolster the supply chain.
CEO Paul Luxon said at the time: "These are unprecedented times for our industry, so we are taking prudent measures to ensure lifeline freight services to the Islands are maintained.
“It is crucial that all the right steps are taken and we are in direct and detailed dialogue with both the States of Guernsey and States of Jersey on this.”
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