Welcome to this issue of Warehouse & Logistics news where there is much to suggest that the logistics industry seems almost cocooned from the general economy where uncertainty has prevailed. Whether from SMEs to titans in this industry, investment is proceeding regardless, underpinned by a measure of optimism. Take, for example, Loadhog, an SME specialising on returnable transit packaging solutions, who won two Sheffield City awards, one for Outstanding Business of the Year and the other for Excellence in International Trade Award. In the last five years Loadhog has invested £3.6m, which has boosted its turnover by 79% over the last three years and export sales by 118% to £7.3m in 2018, and is on track to reach export sales of £9.3m in 2019. So well done, Loadhog. Keep up the good work because your country needs exporters like you.

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Likewise, the pallet exchange group, UPN, has had another sparkling year. Over £2m is being invested in its new SmartHUB facility managed by a cross network IT platform, ready for a Spring opening. Last year UPN was joined by 14 new member companies, bringing the total to 93, the highest ever in nearly 20 years of trading. 2019 “proved to be a fantastic year for UPN as our business is showing record volume growth,” said the MD, David Brown.

Hormann UK, the industrial door specialist, is also celebrating a successful 2019. Despite uncertain market conditions and Brexit delays, the company has had an extremely successful year, launching a variety of products and services, says the MD.

In our forklift section read more on the big vote of confidence from Britain’s largest forklift dealer, Briggs Equipment. It has just ordered 272 new Hyster and Yale counterbalance trucks, worth £6.1m, to boost its short-term fleet to over 5,500 trucks. Steve Hogg, head of short-term hire, said: “We are expecting 2020 to be another extremely busy year for our fleet as we continue to increase our capability and reputation across a number of new industries and market sectors.”

This growth in optimism probably reflects a clearer picture following the decisive General Election outcome and what it could mean for trading relations with the EU. Peter Ward, CEO of UKWA, admits that UKWA members he spoke to since the Election have expressed optimism that they and their clients can move forward with a greater degree of confidence now that much of the doubt that surrounded the UK’s withdrawal from the EU is beginning to recede. Yet, he advises, that a withdrawal on WTO terms could lead to significant disruption. Even so, the word from Government departments is of real confidence that a deal can be made to avoid a WTO scenario.

In our floors feature section you will see how well-cared for floors can deliver competitive edge and how robotics are creating new challenges. And while on floors, as our front cover story reveals, are facilities management missing a trick? Feedback from ICE’s customers shows that their latest Robo 3 scrubber/drier leaves operators time to do the detailed cleaning which often gets missed if they are pushing around a cleaning machine. Rental options also remove the sting of upfront capital investment.

Lastly, once again Warehouse & Logistics News are media partners at the Packaging Innovations Show. Check out our supplement inside this issue, there are editorials covering the latest trends and developments in the contract pack and fulfilment sector from leading figures in the industry, including the BCMPA – the Association for the Contract Manufacturing, Packing, Fulfilment and Logistics. Please feel free to drop in on our stand K6, at the NEC, February 26th-27th.

James Surridge

Publishing Editor

james@warehousenews.co.uk