2022 was a remarkable year for warehousing. For the first time, we now have a political home, since in January we learned that the Cabinet Office had given responsibility for warehousing policy to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities. Given the connection to planning policy as well as warehousing’s potential for levelling up the economy – 70 percent of demand is in the Midlands and the North – this makes perfect sense. We have welcomed the opportunity to work closely with officials at DLUHC this year.
We have also been keen to meet our members in person not just at key trade shows and our networking events like the Annual Awards & Luncheon but go to them, see how they operate and find out what they want from UKWA as a trade organisation. In February we went along to ILG as part of a ministerial visit to see how the Kickstart programme was helping to recruit apprentices. It was heartening to hear from the young apprentices following this route into the logistics sector and that they were eager to progress through the ranks. In October, we arranged for Ben Everitt, the MP for Milton Keynes North, to visit another member company, Yusen Logistics. We had the chance to talk together about the challenges facing the sector, gaining some important recognition for a major employer within the constituency.
Delivering for our members, particularly in a year of turmoil, is a stated aim for UKWA and that is why we focus on providing practical help and guidance. At Multimodal we launched Lease22, a model document to be used as template for negotiating and drafting a modern warehouse lease, which takes into consideration the evolving nature of warehousing in the wake of the ecommerce boom.
Embracing digitalisation is another area where UKWA can provide support through our project with Cambridge University. Digital Logistics on a Shoestring uses off the shelf low-cost solutions to capture quality data, enabling SMEs to improve their bottom line. For example, Meachers Global can now price up container tipping jobs more accurately, thanks to their involvement in the project.
Tapping into the zeitgeist, against the backdrop of the energy crisis, UKWA is leading the way to increase the UK’s solar energy capacity through the installation of solar panels on warehouse rooftops. Launched in the autumn, our research report ‘The Investment Case for Rooftop Solar Power in Warehousing’ includes a Solar PV Installation Toolkit for members and was given further leverage when it was referenced in a policy document at our House of Lords Parliamentary Luncheon in October and mentioned in the Lords’ debate on the Energy Bill.
In March our National Conference returned after just a year’s absence as 2020 was able to go ahead just weeks before the first Covid lockdown. The theme of ‘Building Tomorrow’s Workforce Today’ presented ways to widen the pool of talent by thinking more boldly and inclusively, for example through the graduate scheme Novus or the charity Tempus Novo which gives ex-offenders a second chance. To reach out to members right across the UK, UKWA staged two regional events too. Our Belfast Showcase addressed sustainable trade and forging closer links with Ireland and our Scottish Showcase, hosted by Malcolm Group, covered MHE developments as well as the energy market.
2022 has certainly been a whirlwind year and we recognised the need to bring several new team members on board to support our role as the voice of the industry so we can work more effectively with government and represent our members views, especially as our membership hit 900 members in August and continues to grow. We anticipate 2023 will be the year to build on that momentum. Book now for our Conference on 7-8th March or our Annual Awards Lunch on 27th June.
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