Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Post Brexit Warehousing Update as Essential Worker Status Requested

Meanwhile e-commerce Changes Delivery Status
Shipping News Feature

UK – The head of the United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA), CEO Peter Ward, has called for the government to confirm 'essential worker' status for all those operating in the logistics sector without delay.

In a letter from the Department of Transport at the beginning of the pandemic last March, the government formally stated that it considered the work of the logistics sector should continue to the greatest extent possible through the Covid-19 crisis, stating ‘ Haulage drivers, managers, warehouse staff and all other logistics professionals need to continue to go about their business to keep supply chains moving.’

Now the UKWA boss has requested an updated letter from the government to provide absolute clarity that the decision taken in March 2020 remains relevant to the present time and the current national lockdown. He commented:

“In his announcement the PM underlined the need to maintain the integrity of supply chains and logistics. Therefore, UKWA is asking the government to reaffirm its recognition of the logistics sector as ‘essential’ and confirm that logistics workers are cleared for essential travel to and from places of work as well to required delivery destinations. In addition, we are seeking confirmation that accordingly the children of logistics workers are permitted to attend school.”

Meanwhile it seems the rush to e-commerce, spurred now even more by a return to full lockdown to avoid the pandemic worsening, is making life difficult for traditional retailers. With total take-up of warehouse space 64% higher in 2020 compared to 2019 Sachin Jangam, Associate Partner for Retail at Infosys Consulting, believes this should stimulate a change in roles, saying:

“[These] figures show warehouses are proving a resourceful option for businesses trying to keep up with online demand. As we navigate the uncertainty of another lockdown, the only way physical stores can compete with e-commerce is a radical rethink of physical space. This means retailers working with the government to keep stores open in a ‘local delivery hub’ format, using local stores as delivery warehouses for regional orders to meet the current demand for last-mile deliveries.

Retailers can then make compelling offers in collaboration with suppliers to move stock out of the supply chain and improve efficiency, and ultimately boost sales. To employ this model successfully, retailers need to establish a partnership with last-mile delivery partners to complete home deliveries from stores. This added logistical cost can be somewhat offset by partnering with other suppliers to add on free samples to orders, an effective way to drive up sales.

“Converting local stores into local warehouses would be a major step in supporting the struggling High Street. This is possible for retail businesses which are omni-channel in nature and able to take on orders against local store inventory. Even Amazon is struggling with last-mile delivery, recently announcing holiday shoppers can collect items at retail locations to keep up with demand, so store warehouses are clearly something to consider moving forward. If it’s widely adopted, the evolution of brick-and-mortar could help retailers win back their share in the sales boom for years to come.”