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Welcome to the May 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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A global study of private sector perspectives highlights how international trade flows have remained robust despite the pandemic. On average, companies allocated 32% of revenue from the first half of 2020 to help them switch suppliers or logistics providers and change production or purchasing locations. Consequently, 42% of companies saw international revenue expand in the first half of 2020. 19% reported no year-on-year change from 2019. The study was commissioned by DP World and conducted by the EIU at the outbreak of Covid-19 in Q1 2020, and updated in Q4 2020.

The logistics and supply chain industry has seen significant growth in recent years. It’s a £124bn industry and 2.54 million people now work in the sector, according to the Road Haulage Association. With vans now accounting for 10% of vehicles on the road, and an ageing population of HGV drivers, there are more opportunities for drivers and other logistics professionals from all backgrounds than ever before, from the logisticians overseeing the supply chain to the drivers who manoeuvre commercial vehicles, our commercial vehicles feature reports.

Two-thirds of ports said they felt ‘somewhat confident’ about the business outlook for 2021, according to a survey by the British Ports Association. Many were optimistic, with the words ‘positive’, ‘hope’ and ‘opportunity’ frequently mentioned. One port said ‘things can only get better.’ With the announcement by the Chancellor in the March Budget of eight new freeports in England, due to enter operation in late 2021, there is reason to be confident. The freeports will be located at: East Midlands Airport; Felixstowe and Harwich; Humber region; Liverpool City Region; Plymouth; Solent; Thames; and Teesside. Companies inside the sites will be offered temporary tax breaks, mostly lasting five years, including reductions to the tax paid on their existing property, and when they buy new buildings, says our air, rail and sea feature.

Central Bedfordshire Council has given the green light for construction to begin at Ascent Logistics Park – a major industrial site in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, our property feature reveals. Commercial real estate investor and developer Firethorn Trust acquired the 24.5-acre scheme with outline planning permission from Pears Property in March 2020. Located by J11 of the M1, the speculative scheme consists of eight grade-A units, ranging from 12,000 sq ft to 130,000 sq ft.

We applaud the logistics industry for its unwavering commitment to keeping Britain supplied with goods in the midst of the challenges posed by Brexit and the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccines. Enjoy reading the magazine.

James Surridge

Publishing Editor

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