This article was published before we became the Chartered Institute of Export & International Trade on 10 July 2024, and this is reflected in references to our old brand and name. For more information about us becoming Chartered, visit our dedicated webpage on the change here.


Freighters and delivery drivers are on an official list of ‘essential’ workers required in the UK’s battle against coronavirus.

The government published the list of ‘key workers’ early this morning (Friday, 20 March), which includes nurses and police, whose children will continue to have access to school care as long as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.

The list was published just ahead of the last day of school opening for most UK children.

Transport and distribution are included in two of the eight categories of key workers:


The list includes those involved in “air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response”.


Anyone involved in the production, processing and distribution of food.

For the full list, see here 

The Department for Education said that if “your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed, and you cannot keep your child safe at home, then your children will be prioritised for education provision.”

Institute of Export director general Marco Forgione welcomed the news.

“The fight against the coronavirus is the battle of our lifetime, with the distribution of food and medical supplies from overseas playing a vital role. Freighters – whether they work on land, sea or air – are in it for the long haul and they need all the support that government and bodies like the Institute of Export can provide.”