The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact of nearly all of the UK’s industries, but not all have suffered – or will be unable to bounce back.
The UK’s logistics sector was looking reasonably strong before the global health crisis began, despite a few wobbles in the face of Brexit uncertainty. A significant rise in online retail activity during the pandemic has only helped to fuel the continuing growth of the industry. In fact, at the peak of lockdown in May 2020, online retail sales rose by more than 18% to account for nearly 33% of total sales.
There’s now talk of a post-COVID boom for logistics in the short and medium-term future, once supply chains recover and Brexit teething problems are smoothed over. However, there’s a note of caution, as the full effect of the pandemic on the economy and global supply chains is not yet known.
Despite this, the latest edition of the Logistics UK’s Logistics Performance Tracker (LPT) survey found that industry leaders continue to have a positive business outlook for the next six months.
Here’s what trends we can expect within the industry over the next 12 months or so:
A building boom and a race for logistics space
According to the latest research from global real estate advisor CBRE (supported by similar findings by Savills), 2020 was a record-breaking year for the take-up of logistics space. There was a clamour for square footage, with a whopping 69% more space taken up by logistics companies compared to 2019.
This trend is expected to continue into 2021 and beyond, as more than 8.6 million square foot of logistics space was under offer as of January 2021. This also means many more job opportunities, which could be much needed in the wake of COVID-19. We’re expecting it to be a very busy time for logistics recruitment!
A drive towards net zero carbon
Renewable and low-carbon technology will be a key part of the logistics industry in the next couple of years, as the UK continues to push towards its carbon reduction targets. This not only means the implementation of green technology to power warehouses, but it could have a huge impact on future transport developments. The sector will need to get to grips with the challenges of Clean Air Zones (CAZ) and increase in electric vehicle use, and play their part in easing vehicle pollution problems.
‘Last mile’ efficiency
A key focus for many logistics companies in 2021 is how to improve ‘last mile’ efficiency when moving goods. This can account for a huge proportion of the supply chain spend – not to mention environmental concerns – so efficiency here is absolutely crucial.
A combination of solutions will need to be considered for last mile logistics, from e-Cargo bikes to autonomous vehicles and even drone technology. This could be a dramatic shake-up within the industry, but it could also put some pretty exciting logistics technology into the mainstream.
Searching for a new challenge in logistics, or ready to hire in anticipation of a busy 2021? Get in touch with our logistics recruitment experts here at First 4 Recruitment.