front-jul15.jpgBienvenido to the 15 July Warehouse & Logistics News! Two major nations celebrate holidays this month, America on 4 July and France on 14 July, but it’s fiesta time on a large scale for a third country, Spain, first with the national football team winning Euro 2008 and now Rafael Nadal winning Wimbledon and rightly being crowned Spain’s national hero. Spain has yet to overtake Britain and the rest of Europe at being our global region’s main logistics hub, but Spain’s logistics industry is developing fast. Its ports aspire to creating EU entry hubs for Chinese imported goods, and want to attract more Chinese imports for distribution in the EU. It’s not an unrealistic ambition. But so far the movement of many European production facilities to Asia has favoured increased long distance maritime traffic landing in Europe in ports other than Spain’s, including our own deep water ports like Teesport.

So far one major factor going against Spain’s logistics aspirations is the relative lack of road transport infrastructure, inbound from Spain’s ports then onwards into Europe. This isn’t helped by the militancy of Spain’s lorry drivers, who have been striking recently. Comparing nations’ industries and their tennis players is a bit of sport. But there’s a serious point for UK readers to note – it took Nadal a few short seasons to become a world champion, and Spain’s logistics infrastructure could do much the same on a similar timescale.

Our major interview in this issue is with SDI Group Plc, a leading international specialist provider of integrated materials handling solutions for retail, wholesale, fulfilment and e-commerce distribution operations. CEO Gordon Smith started SDI UK in 1996 with support from SDI in the US, and the Group was listed in 2007 on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market. SDI’s ongoing success certainly shatters any myth that Britain is not a centre of excellence for materials handling automation.

Elsewhere in these pages, our exclusive History of the Forklift Truck reaches episode 30. We’re up to 1958, when Linde’s first hydrostatic trucks were launched and Atlet was born. And in our scheduled features, if you’re looking to ‘lift’ your working standards, don’t miss our Lifting Gear & Cranes feature, ranging from Scissor lifts to heavy-duty cranes. Our Buildings/Facilities feature is similarly solid, spanning main structures and key equipment.

Don’t forget, there’s one issue of Warehouse & Logistics News next month, 15 August, because of the holiday season, then it’s back to two in September. Have a good month, and happy reading, amigos!

Charles Smith