2019 was a milestone year for UKWA as it marked the 75th anniversary of the Association’s inception.

Peter Ward

At the start of the year we announced that, to commemorate our 75th anniversary, UKWA would attempt to generate £75,000 towards Transaid’s MAMaZ programme which works to tackle severe malaria in Zambia by improving drug supply chains and access to health facilities.

I am delighted to say that we achieved our target and I was able to present a cheque to Transaid’s Patron, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, at the annual Transaid Showcase, which was held recently in London.

My sincere thanks goes to everyone that contributed to this excellent cause, including UKWA’s members who willingly paid a modest levy on their annual subscription to boost the fund, as well as all those individuals who gave throughout the year at various fundraising events. The outstanding generosity shown will help to save thousands of lives and there can be no better way of commemorating UKWA’s 75th Anniversary milestone than that.

UKWA was launched in 1944 when representatives from warehousing companies formed a committee to discuss the storage and distribution of food and materials in wartime Britain. Today the organisation is the leading trade body dedicated to serving the needs of the UK’s logistics industry and has some 800 members who, between them, operate over 115 million square feet of warehousing space from around 2000 locations across the UK.

Arguably our industry is going through a period of change more significant than anything it has experienced in the last three-quarters of a century. Indeed, with over a third of the exhibitors at this year’s IMHX showing some form of automation, robotics or autonomous vehicles, it is clear that the days when warehousing conjured up images of men in brown cotton storeman’s overcoats checking inventory with a clipboard and a pencil are long gone!

There is no doubt that logistics service providers will have to engage with rapidly advancing technology and concepts such as ‘big data’ if they are to succeed and, going forward, those companies that fail to embrace the opportunities and, of course, the challenges, that innovation is bringing risk falling so far off the pace that they may well struggle to ever catch up.

These changes will be reflected in the themes up for discussion at next year’s UKWA Annual Conference, which takes place in March 2020 at the Hallmark Queen Hotel, Chester.

An influential programme of speakers will arm all those who attend 2020’s UKWA conference with the kind of knowledge that is essential as they guide their businesses through these fast evolving times and I thoroughly recommend that anyone involved in warehousing, logistics or supply chain planning clears space in their diary to attend this essential event.

Of course, while our industry may be changing, let us hope that it never loses the warm spirit that runs through it that has enabled us to make UKWA’s 75th Anniversary Transaid fundraising pledge a reality. UKWA is Britain’s leading trade organisation for the logistics sector, with over 700+ members.

Full members include warehousing and logistics providers as well as manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers.

Around 100 Associate members are suppliers of products and services to the logistics industry.


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