Royal Mail and Amazon battle for £550m Covid test task

covid-5027031_1920Royal Mail and Amazon are fierce competitors at the best of times but that rivalry is set to ratchet up a notch with the companies going head to head for the Government’s home testing delivery contract, worth £550mm.

Dubbed “Operation Moonshot”, under the scheme 215,000 home testing kits will be delivered each day in an initial one-year contract which is part of NHS Test & Trace programme.

The Department for Health has only given operators four days’ warning, triggering a rush to submit bids ahead of the deadline tomorrow (Tuesday).

Along with delivering 215,000 home testing kits every day, seven days of Covid test “buffer stock” must be held. Up to four tests can be delivered to each household every day, the tender document states.

The contract value could double to more than £1bn with an option to extend for another 12 months.

Amazon was awarded the contract for the home testing of key workers in March but it has waived any fees and charges. However, the tender notice says: “Price is not the only award criterion.”

A mass home testing regime is a central part of Boris Johnson’s plan to allow Britons to return to a more normal life until scientists develop a Covid-19 vaccine.

Last month, Royal Mail executive chairman Keith Williams said: “Operation Moonshot is an opportunity for Royal Mail to show what we can do after the rapid change in the postal market.”

The move is backed by the Communication Workers Union, whose general secretary Dave Ward insisted his members had “kept the country connected” in the pandemic.

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