Last month at our House of Lords Luncheon, UKWA announced that 2024 would be the ‘Year of Warehousing’, a year-long campaign that will see me visiting 80 warehouses large and small across the UK, showcasing our great industry and celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Association.
Why do we need to do this? Simply because we play such an important role in society – to supply chains, to the UK economy, to local communities – and yet we remain largely under appreciated by government and unrecognised by the public, who depend on us to keep them clothed and fed.
In some ways it’s not surprising. While transport is visible on the roads, railways, ports and airports, warehousing operates behind the scenes. Unlike shops, you can’t see inside warehouses, so they seem mysterious and negative myths arise. It’s therefore vital that we metaphorically open our doors and let the world know what we do, how well we do it and the amazing opportunities our sector offers.
In addition, as Kevin Mofid, Head of EMEA Industrial and Logistics Research at Savills, told industry leaders at the launch of 2024 The Year of Warehousing, it is vital that the sector does not just tell Government what it has achieved, but sets out what it wants.
He spoke of the challenges ahead to achieve net zero goals and the need for investment in the national grid; the importance of planning reform to ensure better located stock and upgrading warehouses to meet new EPC regulations coming in 2025 (only a quarter of buildings – those built since 2010 – are currently fit for purpose); and he highlighted the social value that warehouses can bring to local communities, both in terms of generating jobs and providing amenities.
Later, at the House of Lords, we heard from Richard Holden MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, who pledged his warm support for 2024 The Year of Warehousing. He acknowledged that warehousing was an engine for growth and paid tribute to our work on decarbonisation projects, confirming that his Department would be a strong advocate for our campaign and for the sector.
This is what 2024 The Year of Warehousing is about. As well as showcasing the exciting, high-tech workplaces inside warehouses, we will be making the voice of warehousing heard and securing wider support from Government. We will focus too on further professionalising our sector, with the launch in January of a new, independently accredited Warehouse Manager Certificate of Professional Competence (a long overdue equivalent qualification to the Transport Manager CPC), and we will encourage more young people into warehousing, by increasing our support for Generation Logistics.
Join us and help celebrate our sector. 2024 is our year!