Logistics businesses are optimistic about the year ahead despite the uncertainties resulting from Brexit and continued economic instability, the Freight Transport’s Logistics Report suggests.
The survey of some 500 companies found that last year domestic and international road freight performed positively, while air freight operators and intermodal rail service users reported generally encouraging business growth. International sea freight customers reported the strongest lane growth in 2017 to and from the Far East, and predicted that 2018 should be a good year for international shipping, with growth expected on almost all routes.
However, they warned that the current positivity surrounding logistics could be lost without firm plans for the UK’s future trading relationships with Europe, which will have an impact internationally and domestically.
Continued inflationary pressure could also have a significant effect on investment – 14 per cent of those questioned have already curtailed investment decisions since the vote to leave the EU – as well as on consumer spending, which will have a knock-on impact on the logistics sector which supplies all the nation’s needs.
There are also concerns surrounding future employees for a sector which relies heavily on EU workers, with 35 per cent of respondents highlighting that a restriction on worker movement would have a detrimental effect on their businesses.
FTA director of policy Elizabeth de Jong said: “It is crucial that the sector is boosted by concrete plans for the UK’s future relationship with Europe, which will keep Britain trading effectively as the country moves towards the challenges of Brexit.”
The report is sponsored by Santander. Head of transport and logistics John Simkins said: The survey shows that overall fleet investment intentions remained positive and road freight market activity such as HGV, van and trailer fleets saw investment increase. The industry is constantly transforming and the ever-evolving environmental concerns and frequent changes to legislation have forced many companies to regularly review their fleet operations.”