DP World, which owns P&O Ferries, is “ready to go and awaiting the opportunity” to help the rapid roll out of Covid-19 vaccines across the UK for free.

The company told motortransport.co.uk this week it has the infrastructure and capacity to help deploy the vaccine, pointing to deep water ports with freight rail terminals at London Gateway and Southampton and its P&O Ferries business which made 27,000 crossings last year on eight major routes between Britain, France, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Holland and Belgium.

The ferry operator also operates a logistics business, P&O Ferrymasters and offers integrated road and rail services.

A spokeswoman for DP World, said: “We stand ready to support the government in getting all the necessary vaccines into the UK.

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“What’s more, we are willing to do this work for free should we be asked to do so, to help play our part in getting the UK through the pandemic as fast as possible.”

A spokeswoman added: “Perishables are a big part of our business and all the infrastructure needed is already here, so if the government or private companies need help we are here. We are ready to go, we are just awaiting the opportunity to do so.”

A request for comment from NHS England, which is in charge of transportation plans for the Covid-19 vaccine has yet to receive a response.

l The government is considering "non-commercial flight options" to help transport further stocks of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from Belgium to the UK, according to a report on today's BBC Breakfast (7 December). The army may be called in to help with distribution, a Foreign Office spokesman said.