The latest Barclays survey – The UK Logistics Confidence Index H2 2016 – conducted immediately post-Brexit, shows an increase in optimism (2.3% since H1 2016) and highlights technology as a crucial issue for competitive advantage.
Key findings from the report:
- Confidence amongst UK’s logistic businesses has steadied post EU referendum
- Just over a quarter (26%) of new business in the past six months came from the expansion of current customers – the highest figure in the index since 2013)
- Three quarters (74%) report plans to invest significantly over the next six months as the sector prepares to enter a period of uncertainty from a position of strength
- Technology and efforts to expand the workforce are key areas for investment, with 44% looking to hire more over the next six months
- Driver shortages remain a major issue, cited by 35% and up a fifth on H1 2016 – a reflection of long term challenges in attracting British workers and new fears over the status of EU drivers
- The uncertainty of Brexit is a clear challenge for the sector with volume of future trade, labour availability, customs clearances, trade deals and currency risk cited as key issues
Prof. Neil Ashworth, Chief Executive Officer of Collect+, who spoke at the launch of the survey, described technology as “moving in an exponential way,” and that automated vehicles are likely to be the most important “disruptive technology” in logistics. Neil also said that an increase in robotics – which are gradually decreasing in price - will increase labour.