Welcome to the Autumn 2018 Logistics Supplement from Warehouse & Logistics News, focusing on the movement of goods outside the warehouse. Britain’s logistics infrastructure plays a key role in our success as a great trading nation. But there’s work to be done to prepare for the future.

First, the industry needs to cope with the sheer volume of road-based logistics. Grahame Neagus, Head of LCV at Renault Trucks UK predicts that over the next 10 years, roadbased logistics activity will increase almost 60 percent globally. More vehicles on the road and increased regulation put the pressure on vehicle manufacturers to deliver greater efficiencies with safer, cleaner, more productive vehicles. For the logistics operators, squeezed margins mean improving payload, loadspace, fuel costs, labour utilisation and delivery times across the fleet.

Looking at lighter vehicles, a major concern is the annual rise in vehicle overloads. The latest DVSA stats show 8 out of 10 vans on our roads are overloaded. This means they are potentially unsafe, running illegally and likely to be uninsured in the event of an accident. According to SV Tech, the re-rating experts, an overloaded 3,500 kg van driven by someone who got their licence after January 1st 1997 is not only an overloading offence but also a licence violation, carrying a six-point penalty and a large fine.

And then there’s the HGV drivers shortage. UK lorry drivers’ average age is 48, which means a lack of personnel as people retire plus the increased likelihood of accidents through having older drivers at the wheel. The FTA is holding a conference at the City of London Chamber of Commerce this month to address the problem.

Lorry drivers of all ages also face increasing pressure over working hours. Over half Europe’s transport companies have been audited for their drivers’ hours compliance in the last year. The same survey also reveals 43% of companies faced as many as five roadside inspections in the same period and 41% cancelled jobs due to not having visibility of their drivers’ remaining daily hours.

Turning to our ports, UKWA has called on the Government to allow food imports to be inspected at inland premises instead of ports, to ease the flow of goods into post- Brexit Britain. Under the current arrangements food inspections must be conducted within port boundaries, but after Brexit this will be impractical to carry out in a manner consistent with Rest Of World rules, with 44 per cent of our food entering the UK at Dover from the EU, equivalent to 1,000 trucks per day.

Meanwhile our ports are committed to becoming greener workplaces. DP World is investing in green technology at its UK locations to cut emissions and reduce its carbon footprint. By upgrading its materials handling fleet, DP World Southampton expects to halve its NOx emissions by 2020.

And finally, as our businesses look for fresh opportunities beyond Europe, international logistics continues to flourish. Kerry Group reports that the China-US trade dispute has shifted manufacturing from Mainland China to other Asian countries, increasing shipping activity in the region. Kerry has also seen growing shipping volumes in North America and the Indian Peninsula, both key areas for UK trade and likely to become even more important for us in the future.