Bali seems an unlikely setting for a major business event – especially one that promised to be worth £600 million a year to British business. But Prime minister David Cameron assures us that this is the result of the agreement at the World Trade Organisation’s ministerial conference which took place in early December.
The final agreement includes a set of commitments designed to increase global trade, reduce administrative costs and delays at the border as well as help promote economic development among the world’s poorest countries.
I’m sure that it will take some time for people to feel the impact of this in their pockets, but it’s symptomatic of changes in the business environment over the past year. Making decisions about logistics strategy (and often tactics) has been hindered in recent years by the uncertainty of the trading environment.
There are other signs of a change. Mark Carney, the new governor of the Bank of England, used a speech in New York before Christmas to argue that a recovery was gaining pace in the UK. “As the economy recovers, investment should pick up and part-time workers should shift into more productive full-time work,” he said.
And, in his Autumn Statement, chancellor George Osborne agreed to freeze a planned two pence per litre rise in fuel duty due next year – suggesting that the government doesn’t want to do anything that might jeopardise economic growth.
All the evidence points to the fact that we can be more confident about seeing modest growth over the next few years – providing a stable base for investment decisions.
However, while economic prospects might be improving, the world in which we all operate continues to change with developments in supply chain globally, the continued growth in online shopping and the impact that is having on distribution operations.
And all these issues will come under scrutiny at Sandown Park on 11th & 12th February at our new event: Port to Shelf. This conference will look at winning distribution strategies in a changing global supply chain.
The Port to Shelf conference and exhibition takes place alongside the Logistics Link South show, which offers visitors new ways of improving productivity, cutting costs, and boosting customer service. I look forward to seeing you there.
Malory Davies FCILT,