A shared long-term vision between industry and government is needed for businesses to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic effectively, and navigate the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, according to a report released today from Logistics UK (formerly FTA).
Logistics UK surveyed more than 550 members of the industry in January 2020 for its annual Logistics Report, which provides a baseline against which to assess the impact of the pandemic on logistics businesses and the industry as a whole.
David Wells, CEO of Logistics UK comments: “Britain is emerging from the COVID-19 outbreak into a different political, social and economic climate; now, more than ever, we need to ensure that government acts to unleash the potential of the logistics sector. As an enabler of economic and social activity, logistics has been critical to the functioning our country during the crisis and will be vital to its recovery, and eventual long-term growth. To guide government decision making and efficient public and private investment, we believe a shared long-term vision between industry and government is necessary, and, as the business group representing the logistics sector, we will continue working with government to ensure our members receive the support they need.
“While indicators for road connectivity and liner shipping have improved in recent years, the markers for quality of roads, efficiency of air transport, train and seaport services have decreased noticeably, making it clear that government must increase its investment into infrastructure to boost the international competitiveness of the UK.”
When surveyed in January 2020, just under 50 per cent of logistics businesses expected the economy this year to remain at the same level of activity as the previous year; two fifths expected it to be better. Mr Wells continues: “Ongoing uncertainty surrounding the UK and EU’s future trading relationship had left those working within international supply chains unsure what of to expect and acted as a brake on the economy before the COVID-19 outbreak, however, general indications were for continued growth, albeit at a modest rate. And there were other positive indicators too, with road freight activity continuing its year on year growth: registrations for HGVs rose by 10.4% and van registrations by 2.4% compared to 2018. And in the rail freight sector, domestic and international bulk and semi-bulk rail freight grew beyond expectations in 2019, possibly influenced by growth in the construction sector.”