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Spotlight on a policy manager – engaging the nation

Mags Simpson, Head of Policy Engagement, Logistics UK

Logistics UK is the voice of the whole logistics industry – across all modes and regions. I’m proud of my team’s achievements to bring members’ challenges, issues and views together to inform policy and use it as evidence to influence the decision making of government and manage regional transport partnerships.

We work directly with members through regional freight councils, and participate in evidence giving sessions, particularly at devolved government level, but also in Westminster, to inform and educate decision makers on the logistics industry and the challenges we face.

To give just a couple of examples of what my team has been doing to support the regions over recent years, during Brexit, I presented to Scottish National Party MPs who sit in UK Parliament to share the impact on Scottish businesses. This informed their understanding of the challenges which enabled them to support the Scottish logistics sector with confidence. Another example is addressing MPs on Levelling Up and the state of the union. We took evidence to MPs to enable them to put into government policy and effect the positive change we need to see to keep the logistics industry thriving.

While we face many of the same challenges as an industry, there is also a diverse range of priorities and experiences across regions and modes which need to be factored into policy making. The industry is at a pivotal point right now, with challenges like net zero, skills shortages and the need for clear policies post Brexit, such as the NI Protocol. There is also the cost of living, Ukraine crisis and the effects of COVID-19. All of these require evidence gathering from our members to help us shape the policy of the future and allow us to campaign and bring about positive change.

With our recent publication of the Decarbonising Logistics report, net zero is one of members’ biggest concerns and remains top of the agenda for freight councils. One of the issues I see is achieving net zero targets. The majority of companies in the logistics industry are SMEs with limited funds to invest in fleet replacement programmes. They need to know that they are backing the right technologies – especially when it comes to heavier vehicles, where future solutions are less certain. We need government to help give certainty and clarity on where companies should invest for the future. This in part depends upon the correct infrastructure being implemented across the UK to power the alternatively fuelled vehicles.

We have discussed net zero at recent freight councils, and the interest is significant. Beyond the recent government announcement of its continuing commitment to the Category B licence derogation for alternatively fuelled vehicles and an extension to the Plug-in Van Grant, Logistics UK is turning its attention to the reform of the training process to increase throughput and the regulatory framework for zero emission vehicles. We will be looking to discuss the various possible solutions with our members at future freight council meetings.

Councils are one of our biggest assets. As a trade association, we have a democratic process to ensure our members’ views are considered when pulling together policy papers. We gather evidence via our working groups and feed this into the modal councils for agreement, which then helps to shape draft policy. We have a number of working groups, such as skills and warehousing. I would encourage members from across the regions to get involved in the relevant groups to help us continue our work to ensure your personal voice and the voice of the industry is heard. Find the list on Logistics UK’s website.

Genuinely the most enjoyable part of my role is meeting people from different walks of life. I have been at Logistics UK for a long time so I have been fortunate enough to meet lots of members, and I continue to find fascinating the breadth of what we do as an industry. We have members who cover many sectors across the economy, whether it is moving goods, transporting raw materials, construction, engineering, hospital supplies or food stuffs, the world of logistics is very wide and varied.


Published On: 19/05/2022 16:00:29


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