Confidence in UK logistics sector at a five-year high

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Confidence among the UK’s logistics sector has improved markedly in the past 12 months, recovering to its highest level in five years.

The tenth edition of the UK Logistics Confidence Index 2017 from Barclays Corporate Banking and Moore Stephens, published today, shows the number of logistics operators that see business conditions as more positive has risen by 11 per cent in the past year. Four in every 10 logistics operators say they are likely to make an acquisition over the next 12 months.

However operators said they are waiting for more clarity on the Brexit deal before taking action. The survey also shows that almost half of the companies that dispatch and deliver goods across the UK feel that business conditions have become more difficult in the last year and specific concerns around Brexit show a less cheerful picture with less than one in ten logistics operators saying they feel more positive about Brexit than they did last year.

Rob Riddleston, head of transport and logistics at Barclays Corporate Banking, said: “The confidence reported in this year’s Index is really encouraging and demonstrates the resilience of the sector.

“Despite a tough environment, firms are getting on with it. However, as the path ahead becomes clearer, this business as usual approach will need to flex.

“The battle to retain customers looks set to become more aggressive, as operators work to differentiate themselves through investment in new technologies and the value added services that win customer loyalty, while the appetite to acquire, even in the next 12 months, is telling. Both could become significant threats for those businesses who do not face the changing operational landscape head-on, and so miss out on taking advantage of its opportunities.”

Bolstered by the Department of Transport’s commitment to invest £8.1m in self-driving truck trials, technology is also helping logistics companies to deliver staffing efficiencies with one in 10 logistics operators saying they are investigating their use.