Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Warehousing Boss Warns Space Tightening as Importers Stockpile European Goods Pre-Brexit

CEO on Television to Explain Potential Problems of No-Deal Planning
Shipping News Feature
UK – This week Chief Executive of the United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA), Peter Ward, had the chance to spread that organisation's message regarding the stockpiling of goods in British warehouses in a bid to avoid potential problems post Brexit. The CEO of the UKWA was speaking on BBC Newsnight on Tuesday July 2nd regarding the looming possibility of a no deal scenario.

The UKWA is the leading trade body dedicated to serving the storage needs of the UK’s logistics industry and has over 700 members who, between them, control nearly 100 million square feet of warehousing space from nearly 1300 locations around the country. With many companies opting to hold increased inventory as a precaution against interruptions in their European supply chain, Ward cautioned that suitable space was getting harder to find, leaving importers with a potential problem. He commented:

“Stockpiling before the potential no-deal Brexit on October 31st may be near impossible. There is little available space. The market, as represented by our members, is virtually at full volume. The biggest concern at the moment is that the October deadline comes right bang in the middle of peak season. From a timing point of view it couldn’t be worse.

“You can’t just turn on supply, and the vacancy rates talked about by the industrial agents are largely de-coupled from the Brexit related surge in demand. For the most part the demand is for the kind of fully serviced logistics solutions that UKWA members provide, in other words warehousing with racking, materials handling equipment, labour and connectable warehouse management systems with ‘pay as you play’ transactional pricing.

”This is very different from empty buildings with landlords seeking long-term lease commitments. In any event, adding new real estate to the system can take a number of years, and I can’t see any increase in capacity by October. ”

Recently the UKWA introduced its own system to enable potential customers to hunt down suitable warehouse space in their vicinity. Called MarketSpace the web based portal brings together companies with warehouse space available with those seeking storage and logistics services.

Photo: Peter Ward being interviewed by Newsnight Economics Editor, Ben Chu.