The DfT has confirmed that logistics employees will continue to be classed as ‘essential workers’ during the UK’s third national lockdown and allowed to travel for work.

The move comes after industry representatives raised concerns that problems in the first national lockdown - which saw logistics workers on their way to work and truck drivers stopped by police - did not arise in the third national lockdown.

In a letter to logistics associations including the RHA, Logistics UK and the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA), David Buttery, the DfT co-director of road safety standards and services, said the logistics sector was considered essential during the Covid-19 crisis.

He added: “As is clear in the latest guidance, those who work to keep the freight transport modes operating during the coronavirus (Covid-19) response and EU transition, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass, are considered critical workers.

“This, therefore, includes haulage drivers, managers, warehouse staff and all other logistics professions who we need to continue to go about their business to keep supply chains moving.”

The letter reassures the industry that school age children of employees in the sector are eligible to continue attending school and that the ruling applies to all supply chains and not only those for food and medical supplies.

An RHA spokeswoman said: “In these difficult times we literally keep the economy moving and we need all the support we can get, so this is very welcome.”

UKWA chief executive Peter Ward said: “We are pleased that government has again recognised the important role businesses in our sector are playing in keeping the country going during national lockdown.”