In preparation for a networking lunch held at the House of Lords in March, Peter Ward, CEO of the United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) is calling on the government to support the future needs of the supply chain and logistics sector.
Calling for better planning consent, investment in road infrastructure and recognition that logistics capabilities underpin much of the country’s smooth running in a statement issued today, Ward said: “British society is in the midst of a period of rapid and wide-ranging change and many of the decisions taken at Westminster during 2016 are likely to have a clear and lasting impact on the UK’s future logistics and transportation landscapes.
“The number of people living in the UK will rise from 64.6 million in mid-2014 to 74.3 million by 2039. That’s an increase of almost 10 million in 25 years.
“Because these people will need to be fed and clothed, the government has to act to not only ensure that our road and rail infrastructure can sustain the physical movement of goods at the kind of levels that will be required, but that enough warehouses and distribution centres are built in parts of the country where they will be able to serve our rapidly expanding communities.”
Back in September, the UKWA warned a lack of functional warehouse space in the UK.
Past and current town planning consent favours the construction of out of town retail and distribution hubs, from large hypermarket sites to warehouses and other industrial units. However, such sites reflect a kind of shopper behaviour that is now markedly in decline; regular, major – usually weekly – shopping trips are not as common as they were, with shoppers preferring a little and often approach to shopping, particularly where groceries are concerned.
The growth of ecommerce, which was not foreseen at the time many edge-of-town units were built, has led to a higher volume of smaller parcels being shipped and returned at any given moment, which would be better served by the development of smaller hubs and DCs located within easier reach of residential areas. Current planning laws do not always cater for such inclusions within new housing developments.
“The efficient operation of the logistics and supply chain sector has always been essential to the performance of the British economy and UKWA is striving to sway Government thinking by highlighting the central importance of our industry and the companies that operate within it, to the smooth running of ‘UK plc’,” Ward continued.
The UKWA represents around 700 companies in the UK logistics industry.
Additional reading: Expanding your horizons: what’s Napoleon got to do with delivery looks at the constraints within the current UK supply chain sector and how to avoid getting caught out by them.
Main image © Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence. View original here.