Those of us who have been at the procurement coal face for more years than we care to remember, were saddened and frustrated to hear of some of the actions taken by big buyers against their suppliers.

Conversely it is great to see that compassion and common sense are starting to take hold.

Customers and retailers who treat their suppliers well will no doubt be at the front of the queue when the recovery starts, a premise long established by the supplier relations and profitability work of the excellent Prof. John Henke on the working relations index.

A word of caution though, even at the recovery stage, buyers will need to be prepared to pay up front, reduce payment terms and help suppliers keep cash flowing as it will be a long, long time till suppliers adjust and recover to pre-Covid19 ways of working.