Martin Palmer, Commercial Director at Wincanton, shares Wincanton’s views on the Modern Transport Bill announced recently in the Queen’s Speech.
"If we stop for a minute and reflect about how much the world has changed in the past couple of decades, it’s a little overwhelming. From mobile phones and the internet through to automation and robots, our world is very different now than it was 20 years ago. It’s great to witness such developments, especially when it comes to reflecting on the changes that the logistics industry has been going through.
"We should be proud. Our industry has made some giant steps when it comes to technological advancements. The sector is increasingly calling upon more technology and data to boost efficient and sustainable practices across the supply chain. Innovations in fuel efficiency, driver training and data capture have changed essential aspects of the supply chain and logistics providers now have all the right tools to deliver the highest standards of operational excellence and customer service.
"Last month, two further major regulation updates were introduced, which, in the future, will have a significant impact on the UK logistics industry and its customers. With automotive manufacturers investing considerable sums in the development and introduction of autonomous vehicles, the Queen’s Speech introduced legislation to reduce red tape around these new technologies to bring driverless vehicles to our streets in the next few years.
"The Modern Transport Bill will put the UK at the forefront of safe technologies in the autonomous vehicles industry, such as drones, cars and lorries, and will be key in ensuring that appropriate insurance is available to support the use of autonomous and driverless vehicles.
"The Bill has the potential to transform our industry substantially. We see automation and driverless vehicles as the natural direction in which the industry is heading as new technology continues to be developed. In fact, a recent Deloitte report on emerging technologies forecast that 70% of companies will use developments such as predictive analytics and wearable technology to support their supply chains by 2020.
"With the logistics industry facing skills and workforce challenges, these advances in technology must be underpinned by a knowledgeable and skilled workforce, and the Department of Transport’s (DfT) new Motoring Services Strategy, which was unveiled on 12th May, will put in place new structures to support talent development.
"The strategy will provide more resources to all those learning to drive, including HGV drivers, and improve bureaucracy to ensure that haulage operators have better access to the DfT’s services.
"As the largest British logistics firm, Wincanton welcomes the DfT’s efforts to provide greater support and flexibility in the way drivers are trained and vehicles tested. We particularly encourage their ambition to give greater responsibility to transport and automotive industries in operating and testing vehicles.
"We see this as a ground breaking initiative and a major step forward in ensuring that all haulage operators have access to the DfT’s services, in order to test vehicles efficiently and flexibly, and that drivers receive the right training.
"The Modern Transport Bill and the DfT’s Motoring Services Strategy have the potential to change the supply chain landscape on a fundamental level. We are ready to embrace these new opportunities and eagerly await confirmation from the Government on the timescales during which these pieces of legislation will be introduced, and the amount of funding that will be allocated.
"It’s an exciting time to be involved in the logistics industry, and we look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead."