Last week, The UK Independent Transport Commission released their report; Improving the Efficiency of Freight Movements: the Contribution to the UK Economic Growth.
The report identifies ways in which the UK freight and logistics industry can improve its efficiency, at a time when pressure is increased. The growing strain on logistics infrastructure in the UK is largely down to the immense growth in e-commerce, the changing face of international container shipping and an imbalance of imports and exports.
The report shows that the key challenges and trends in logistics include:
- An imbalance in imports and exports—the UK imports twice as much as it exports
- The return of companies who shifted production to Asia, back to the EU and US
- The expansion of container ships and ever bigger port-centric logistics hubs
- The massive growth of online shopping
- Increase in transportation costs of 20% due to sustainability issues
Aside from increased costs, the explosion of online shopping represents one of the biggest challenges to the logistics industry, as the volumes within retail are huge. However, rather than concentrating on bulk orders delivered to retail outlets, logistics companies need to adapt to smaller deliveries more often. The report predicts this could be upwards of an extra 1.7 million van journeys a year, which would also create the need for better urban freight distribution networks to improve efficiency.
As logistics are such an important element of the supply chain in a fast moving world, greater efficiency and a joined up approach will help carry our industry into the future.