From the Frontline: Alex Knowles of Knowles Transport talks about how COVID-19 is affecting his business

Will Shiers
March 19, 2020

Wimblington, Cambridgeshire transport and warehousing supplier Knowles Transport has seen an unprecedented increase in volumes, as food shoppers continue with widescale panic buying in the midst of the country’s struggle with  coronavirus (COVID-19), writes Tom Cunningham.

Knowles, which holds several distribution contacts with food producers and distributors - notably for Italian dried pasta, pasta sauces and tinned goods - said that in the week commencing 9 March, it saw a 33% week-on-week increase in outbound loads from its five warehouses.
“So far, this has set an all-time record in our 88-year history,” MD Alex Knowles told CM.

CM knows of a number of pallet network members who have seen similar volume increases as a result of the ongoing emergency, despite the government suggesting that there is no reason for anybody to stockpile.

Since the virus tightened its grip in the UK, the big supermarkets have all reported surges in sales, with customers clearing shelves of items such as anti-bacterial products, toilet and kitchen rolls, long-life milk and pain relief pills.

PM Boris Johnson told a press conference recently that he was “absolutely confident our supply chains are working, and will work, and we will get farm to fork food supplies.”

Knowles said his firm is working hard to stay ahead of the increased demand and meet customers’ fulfilment requirements.

CM would like to hear from any vehicle operator willing to tell us what experiences they are currently going through on the frontline. If you have a story to tell, please email

About the Author


Will Shiers

Will has been the editor of Commercial Motor magazine since 2011 and is the UK jury member of the International Truck of the Year.

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