Brexit now among top concerns for freight industry

31 May 2018

Brexit has entered the top three concerns for the UK logistics industry, according to a survey.

The Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) Logistics Report 2018 found that whereas in last year’s survey Brexit did not appear in the top three suggested actions for government, it is now in third place as the UK moves closer to the March 2019 deadline.

The survey also showed Brexit was the biggest external challenge to international growth faced by logistics firms, cited by 56.9% of respondents.

The FTA polled 500 freight and logistics businesses operating in the UK and internationally, and found the top priority for government action was investment in road improvements, followed by investing in infrastructure across all modes and facilities.

Logistics providers still believe they are hampered by a shortage of key skilled workers, with 34.7% feeling restricting freedom of movement of people from the EU will harm business. When it comes to businesses engaged in manufacturing this figure rises to 42.6%.

Almost half (45%) of respondents believe the availability of skilled British workers is also a concern.

Elizabeth de Jong, FTA’s director of UK policy, said positive growth across road, sea, air and rail freight meant “there is much for the logistics industry to be encouraged by”.

“However, with inflationary pressures at home and abroad and the uncertainty of trading relationships post Brexit, it is clear that many operators are far from confident about their future business prospects. 

“And with logistics underpinning the British economy at all levels...it is crucial that the sector is boosted by concrete plans for the UK’s future relationship with Europe.”

Current optimism surrounding the logistics sector could be rapidly dissipated without firm plans for the UK’s future trading relationships with Europe. 

Some 14% of respondents said they had already curtailed investment decisions since Britain voted to leave the EU.

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