Few years have been more turbulent in modern times than 2021. Our industry stepped up in the face of continued supply chain and labour shortages, rising costs and a busy Christmas period with the prospect of further disruption due to the ongoing battle with new mutations of the Coronavirus.

One thing we’ve seen, is that we can’t always predict what’s in store. The world can change quickly and accordingly, we must be more flexible, adaptable and resilient than ever.

We know that there is more change ahead. New rules come into effect from January 2022 relating to bringing goods into this country from the European Union, and draft legislation is due to be brought forward by the Government in the summer around digitalisation of documents, including bills of lading, bills of exchange, warehouse receipts and more.

Indeed, ‘change is the only constant’ and with that in mind, it is important going forward that we plan to build resilience and ensure that risk management is part of how we do business. UKWA has worked hard during the difficult months post Brexit and during lockdown to support members in achieving this, providing the information and necessary tools to help protect their business.

Last year we introduced our exclusive digital Risk Analysis Tool, aimed at ensuring members meet and maintain regulatory compliance in accordance with current guidance and legislation, while promoting best practice and supporting continuous improvement.

This new member benefit complements the UKWA Conditions of Contract, which represent a long established and legally tested cornerstone of Association membership. Generally regarded as an industry ‘gold standard’, the wide protection this robust legal document affords was spelled out to members in a series of ‘bitesize’ webinars, hosted by UKWA and presented by sector specialists from UKWA’s independent legal advisors Aaron & Partners.

The Conditions, correctly understood and implemented, limit the liability of warehouse keepers for customers’ goods whilst in the warehouse, and provide for the role of insurers in assessing allocation of risk and liability. They also protect members in the event of a customer either going bust or not paying their bill.

The cost to a business of drawing up such a comprehensive and robust legal document on an individual basis would be considerable, which is why it is such a valuable asset and remains a powerful incentive for membership.

In uncertain times, trade associations come into their own, sharing experience, expertise and tangible benefits. So, if you’ve been considering how best to plan for the year ahead, why not make your New Year’s resolution for 2022 to join the UK’s leading organisation for warehousing!

Clare Bottle

UKWA, CEO

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