Following UKWA’s call on government to clarify the position of logistics workers under the latest national lockdown regulations, today the Department for Transport has confirmed that employees in the sector are considered ‘essential workers’ and accordingly will be allowed to travel for work. In addition, the children of logistics employees will be permitted to attend school along with those of other key workers.
In a letter to Peter Ward, UKWA CEO, and leaders of peer trade associations in the industry, the DfT states that it is considered essential that the work of the logistics sector should continue to the greatest extent possible through the Covid-19 crisis.
“As is clear in the latest guidance, those who work to keep the freight transport modes operating during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response and EU transition, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass, are considered critical workers. This, therefore, includes haulage drivers, managers, warehouse staff and all other logistics professions who we need to continue to go about their business to keep supply chains moving. As such, school age children of employees engaged in these activities should be eligible to continue attending school in line with Government policy.
“Government policy is clear that this applies to all supply chains and not only those for food and medical supplies. The current regulations allows travel to work and travel associated with work.”
Peter Ward adds, “We are pleased that government has again recognised the important role businesses in our sector are playing in keeping the country going during national lockdown. UKWA will continue to provide support for our members and ensure that the voice of the wider logistics industry is heard and heeded.”
Pictured: UKWA CEO Peter Ward
Note for editors:
UK Warehousing Association
The UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) is Britain’s leading trade organisation representing the warehousing and third-party logistics (3PL) sector. The association’s 800+ member companies operate some 12 million square metres of warehousing from around 2000 depots across the UK. For more details, visit www.ukwa.org.uk or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Latest UKWA survey chimes with National Audit Office report findings
The report by the National Audit Office, ‘The UK border: preparedness for the end of the transition period’, which was published today, chimes with findings of the latest survey of members conducted by the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) last week, says UKWA CEO Peter Ward, with 88% of respondents stating that they do not believe their customers are prepared for the impact of UK’s transition from the EU on January 1st 2021.
While 78% of UKWA members said that they were aware of the Border Operating Model, only 40% felt that they were prepared.
“The intermediaries – namely those operating in the logistics industry – have been kept well informed and in many cases have helped shape the Border Operating Model via their Trade Associations,” Peter Ward said. “However, traders themselves have not received clear or detailed communication from the government on what to prepare for or how to prepare for it.”
He added that a combination of factors, including the COVID pandemic, had distracted businesses from focussing on combatting the inevitable supply chain disruption caused by some 200 million additional customs declarations being required after January 1st.
“A degree of apathy has settled in after three Brexit ‘deadlines’ have come and gone, with companies stockpiling each time in preparation for supply chain interruption at some considerable cost,” Peter said. “There is also a widespread sense, fed by the national media, that all will be ‘alright on the night’ if we can just secure a Free Trade Agreement. Our message is – and has been for some time – that deal or no deal, traders in the UK will be in a new operating environment from January 1st regardless. We will be out of the Customs Union and therefore the government’s agreed future Brexit Border Operating Model will be in place, along with new procedures and new IT systems, many of which remain untested. What it will not be, even if we secure a Free Trade Agreement, is ‘business as usual’.”
Warehouse capacity running at sub 3%
The other key finding of UKWA’s member survey is there is less than 3% available warehouse capacity nationwide.
This equates to approximately 360,000 pallets, which is insufficient as this aggregate is composed of small ‘lot’ sizes of 100-200 across some 3000 locations nationwide.
With flows continuing into UK from the Far Eastand elsewhere, whilst non-essential retail outlets are closed again under the new COVID restrictions, UKWA believes the situation will quickly become critical.
“UKWA warned of an impending crisis of warehousing shortages earlier in the year, but this was mitigated as the economy opened up again,” Peter Ward commented. “However, now we are into peak season and the pressures on space have increased.
As far as Brexit is concerned, we anticipate a small increase in availability of around 1% post peak, with a paltry 120,000 becoming pallets available going into January.”
Peter concludes, “UKWA, along with our peer Trade Associations, have continued to engage with the government, providing feedback from the ‘coal face’ and disseminating vital information to members. We have also been vocal in warning of the unpreparedness of businesses for the transition from the EU. Whilst we welcome the recognition of these challenges, as outlined in the National Audit Office report, awareness of the threat of unpreparedness has come somewhat late in the day.”
The UKWA survey confirmed that 25% of UKWA members consider Brexit (the end of transition period) the biggest risk going into 2021, with concern for customers’ survival beyond the twin threats of COVID and Brexit cited by 34%.
Pictured: UKWA CEO Peter Ward
Note for editors:
UK Warehousing Association
The UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) is Britain’s leading trade organisation representing the warehousing and third-party logistics (3PL) sector. The association’s 800+ member companies operate some 12 million square metres of warehousing from around 2000 depots across the UK. For more details visit www.ukwa.org.uk or contact email@example.com
David McCutcheon, Chief Executive Officer of Bullet Express, has been confirmed as a new member of the UKWA management board at the association’s Annual General Meeting, held on 26th June.
He joins new board members also confirmed at the AGM – Ian Henderson, Group Property Director at Wincanton PLC, Gary Whittle, Commercial Director at Meacher’s Global Logistics. Neil Bowker, Commercial Director of Bowker Group, was formally elected to the role of Vice Chair of the UKWA management board.
Commenting on David’s appointment, UKWA CEO Peter Ward said, “Since becoming a member of UKWA, Bullet Express has been an active and engaged supporter of the association, with Scott McCutcheon and Donald Gillies respectively winning UKWA Awards for Industry Excellence in successive years, 2017 and 2018. I am delighted to have such a strong industry advocate in Scotland and look forward to working with David as we navigate these extraordinary times.”
David started Bullet Express with his cousin Gary in 1990, providing a same-day courier service across the UK, later developing into pallet deliveries and joining the pallet networks. In addition to domestic work, Bullet provides freight services worldwide, currently managing storage of 25,000 pallets with a turnover of £14.5m.
“In 2016 we managed just 2000 pallets, so in four years we’ve seen fantastic growth,” David says. “It’s the tremendous opportunities in this great industry which led me to become involved with promoting our business and the sector in general through organisations like UKWA. I’m delighted to become a board member and welcome the opportunity to work with UKWA Chair Nicola and CEO Peter, along with other colleagues on the board, and hope to make valuable contribution to the future of the association.”
The board also formally accepted the resignations of longstanding members, former Chairman Tony Mohan and Douglas Fearnley, with President, Chair and former colleagues adding warm thanks for their sterling support and service over many years.
Pictured: David McCutcheon, Chief Executive Officer of Bullet Express