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The Perfect Storm

Speaking at this week’s United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) Annual Awards Lunch, Peter Ward – UKWA’s CEO, warned that global political and economic uncertainty allied to societal shifts and changing consumer behaviour is creating “a perfect storm that is driving an unprecedented pace of change within the logistics sector.”

However, he added, the future offers tremendous opportunities for those companies capable of adapting their working practices to the needs of the modern commercial landscape.

Peter Ward said: “The continued demise of the high street means that retailers are having to face up to the challenge of re-shaping their routes to market to meet the ever-increasing demands of technology-enabled consumers. As a result, logistics has become ‘the new retail’.

“But, a short supply of new warehousing stock in the required locations, increasing rents, a shrinking labour pool and a transport infrastructure that, in many places, is creaking, means that logistics professionals are under greater pressure than ever to deliver new and innovative solutions that meet the demand for shorter lead times and faster delivery.”

He continued: “And it terms of global supply chains, we have to contend with President Trump’s ‘America First’ policy and all of its serious tariff and anti-trade implications, while in China we’re seeing a massive commitment to invest some $900 million per year in building infrastructure that will allow Chinese goods to reach 65% of the world’s population and 35% of global trade. And, of course, here in Europe against a background of political uncertainty in many countries we are still grappling with the unpredictable fall-out from the Brexit vote.”

“The current and future logistics landscape is one that will be negotiated successfully only by companies that are able to recognise opportunity, embrace innovation and adapt to operate in an unpredictable world.”

Peter Ward added: “Next year will mark the 75th anniversary of UKWA’s inception and I think the challenges faced by our sector at the present time are probably unique in the association’s long history.

“Consequently UKWA’s role as the ‘Voice of the UK Logistics Industry’ has rarely been more significant, which is why more and more logistics companies, retailers and manufacturers are joining the ranks of our membership.”

Held at London’s Dorchester Hotel, UKWA’s Annual Awards Lunch was attended by over 450 senior supply chain professionals from some of the UK’s leading logistics services, retail and manufacturing companies.


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