Unleash the power of logistics - Welsh government policy must reflect the scale of the sector, says Logistics UK

Wednesday 19 June 2024

To realise the power of the logistics sector to drive sustainable growth in Wales, leading business group Logistics UK is urging the Welsh government to create an environment that allows the sector to thrive by ensuring its policy programme recognises that logistics underpins the Welsh economy and employs close to seven per cent of the Welsh workforce.

In its comprehensive report “Logistics: underpinning the Welsh economy”, Logistics UK highlights the significance of the sector to the Welsh economy and identifies four key areas where the Welsh government must focus attention to drive sustainable growth: unlocking investment through public-private partnership; innovative and integrated infrastructure; a fair transition to a green economy and addressing the skills challenge.

Outlining the vital role logistics plays in the Welsh economy, Logistics UK’s Policy Manager - Wales, Josh Fenton, says, “There are more than 90,000 people employed in logistics roles in Wales, which is almost seven per cent of the workforce, and we have over 8,000 logistics businesses, making, selling and moving the goods that the country’s economy relies on every day. The contribution the sector makes cannot be understated but we also know that there is a significant opportunity for Wales and the UK as a whole if our industry can realise its full potential.

“By prioritising logistics, Welsh policymakers can help deliver productivity gains to help supercharge the UK economy by up to £7.9 billion per year by 2030. Logistics can have a dramatic impact on the growth of the Welsh economy if time and money is invested in facilitating the sector’s efficiency, which is why we are recommending the appointment of a dedicated minister for logistics and supply chain who can deliver across the Welsh government.”

Identifying four key areas to drive sustainable growth, the report highlights the strategic role a partnership between the Welsh government and logistics businesses would play by unlocking investment and enabling the sector to maximise the benefit it delivers. It also emphasises the importance of interconnected infrastructure to utilise different transport modes efficiently, and identifies key infrastructure priorities for Wales including M4 capacity improvements to improve freight flows, electrification of the South Wales Main Line west of Cardiff and A465 capacity improvements to enhance safety and journey time reliability. In addition, the report stresses how a fair transition to net zero is key to ensuring Wales maximises the impact of a thriving logistics sector.

Logistics UK and its members raised these matters in two meetings with Cabinet Secretary for North Wales and Transport Ken Skates this week, to discuss the Welsh government’s development of a Freight and Logistics Plan and proposed reforms to the 20mph restrictions that are currently encumbering the logistics sector.

Josh Fenton explains, “The logistics sector is committed to playing its part to help achieve net zero and recognises its responsibilities, but it is equally clear this must be a fair transition that keeps costs down and supply chains resilient.”

Fenton continues, “Our industry is packed with interesting, well-paid jobs which underpin the whole economy, but attracting people to logistics must be a team effort. The Welsh government’s approach to apprenticeships has led to a situation where key logistics courses, including higher level logistics apprenticeships, are not being offered in Wales. This leads to young logistics talent leaving Wales for roles in England where salaries are higher, as well as additional costs for Welsh businesses that support their employees with travel and subsistence so they can undertake courses in England. The Welsh government, skills providers and the logistics sector must come together, underpinned by the necessary funding to support the delivery of the right courses, to train up a new generation of logistics professionals and upskill the existing workforce.”

Download a copy of “Logistics: underpinning the Welsh economy” here: https://logistics.org.uk/research-hub/policies/logistics-underpinning-the-welsh-economy

Logistics UK is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With decarbonisation, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods. For more information about the organisation and its work, please visit logistics.org.uk .