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David Wells Chief Executive Officer, Logistics UK

Why it's time for logistics to take centre stage

With the election looming, it is time for the logistics sector to stake a claim to its rightful place at the centre of the economy, says Logistics UK’s CEO David Wells.

For too long, logistics has been considered a supporting player when, in reality, it is critical to driving economic growth.

The World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index shows the UK has slipped from 4th in 2014 to 19th in 2023, but if we reverse this decline, by making the right investments in logistics and supply chain, the UK can once again be a world leader in logistics and generate an £8 billion per annum boost in GDP by 2030. When everyone is looking for growth, we know that investing in logistics can stimulate growth across the whole economy.

The importance of the role logistics plays in keeping the economy moving has been well demonstrated in recent years especially the attention brought by the pandemic, war in Ukraine and disruption to shipping in the Red Sea. However, its importance to the nation’s economy is now being recognised formally through initiatives such as the creation of the Critical Imports and Supply Chains Strategy, which the government announced in January.

There is a recognition that the objectives set out in this strategy will only be impactful if they are developed and delivered in close partnership with industry. This is why it was important that I participated in the inaugural meeting of the Critical Imports Council which took place in April, alongside other business groups. It was a productive meeting and, with Logistics UK being invited to participate in such a critical alliance, the industry can be sure that its voice is being heard at the highest level.

However, there is always more which can be done which is why Logistics UK is also calling for a cross-Departmental Minister of Logistics to help join up decision making across government. The big issues we need to address to drive growth across the whole economy, including skills, infrastructure, decarbonisation, planning, tax, technology, borders and trade, span many government departments and require joined up thinking to stimulate real growth.

Trade events such as Multimodal are a fantastic way to stay abreast of key developments such as these, and the Logistics UK Conference Theatre at this year's event (11-13 June at the NEC, Birmingham) will be a hive of activity and a great opportunity to meet and discuss the key industry topics with thought leaders.

The speaker programme will feature practical discussions of multimodal operations, the importance of sustainability and how to address the skills challenges still facing our sector, which I am sure will provide plenty of opportunity for discussion and debate across the audience. We will also be launching our annual Logistics Report at the event, our comprehensive reference publication which contains the results of our latest survey of members, discussing key trends and developments in the industry as well as providing an overview of issues affecting logistics.

Our Conference opens with a Ministerial Address from Minister for Roads and Local Transport, Guy Opperman MP and the packed three-day programme will also include a session from Bill Esterton MP, Shadow Transport Minister for Roads. We will also have the honour of welcoming HRH The Princess Royal to our Logistics UK stand when she visits the show on Thursday 13 June.

Logistics UK represents and speaks for the whole logistics industry: to see how we can support your business, please pay us a visit on stand 5095.

For more information, please visit: www.logistics.org.uk

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