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Welcome to the January issue of Logistics Insight magazine, the quarterly in-depth focus on the logistics industry. In this issue we examine commercial vehicles, the air, rail and sea sector and the industrial property market.

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The logistics industry stepped up to deliver for the nation in 2020, despite facing a worsening shortage of HGV drivers, economic and financial hardship, and significant disruption to operations, according to Logistics UK. The business group has launched its COVID-19 Logistics Report 1, which provides a detailed overview on how the pandemic has affected logistics businesses and the steps they have taken to overcome these challenges. In the early stages of the COVID-19 restrictions in March 2020, 85% of respondents to Logistics UK’s COVID-19 surveys reported a general business downturn, with work and orders cancelled. This reduced to 60% by the end of May, with supply chain disruption since easing further. The report also highlights that delivery times have improved due to less congestion as a result of fewer cars on the road compared with normal levels.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation agreement (TCA) delivers across several areas for UK automotive, limiting damage in some others, and keeping the sector connected to a market that accounts for eight out of 10 of its vehicle exports, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The TCA delivers on the core ask to avoid tariffs for most finished vehicles, parts and components. The inclusion of specific, albeit challenging, provisions on transitional phase-ins for both electrified vehicles and batteries is also welcome, according to our commercial vehicles feature.

The British Ports Association (BPA), which represents 86% of UK port freight activities around the UK, sees the UK’s new trading relationship with the EU bedding in and the mass roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine beginning, our air, rail and sea feature reports. Commenting on the year ahead, the BPA’s Chief Executive, Richard Ballantyne, said: “Despite the obvious changes for those operators handling EU freight, 2021 could see a bounce back from the various impacts that affected the UK and global economy last year. In the short term, keeping the industry resilient and ports open could mean getting essential workers at ports up the queue just behind health workers, the clinically vulnerable and the elderly, in terms of the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine.”

Winvic Construction Ltd, a leading main contractor that specialises in the design and delivery of multi-sector construction and civil engineering projects, has started the main infrastructure works at SEGRO Logistics Park Northampton Gateway (SLPNG), a 450-acre multi-modal logistics hub located next to junction 15 of the M1. When complete, the development will comprise five million square feet of modern, highly sustainable industrial facilities and a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI), says our property feature.

We salute the logistics industry for supplying the nation during this unique season of both Brexit and the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines. Enjoy reading the magazine.

James Surridge

Publishing Editor

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