Regional Mayors need to embrace logistics and the opportunity the sector presents for regional economic growth, says Logistics UK

Wednesday 13 March 2024

On 2 May 2024, mayoral elections will be held across the North of England and the Midlands and, whichever candidates are successful, they must appoint senior leads for logistics, responsible for seizing the opportunities presented by the sector to drive growth across the region and address the long-term challenges the country is facing, according to business group Logistics UK. 

Ahead of the elections, Logistics UK has launched regional manifestos for the North of England and the Midlands outlining how senior logistics leads in the regions would be able to implement strategic approaches to logistics and address national challenges such as climate change and the development of AI while providing economic growth. 

“Logistics is one of the key economic sectors for these regions,” explains Jonathan Walker, Logistics UK’s Head of Cities and Infrastructure Policy, “and has the potential to accelerate real benefits for the economy if its role is considered and supported by policy makers. There are over 95,000 logistics businesses in northern England and the Midlands and they deliver everything the region needs, every day, and the industry provides jobs for more than 1.2 million people which is almost half of the UK’s logistics roles.  Yet the needs of the sector are often relegated to an afterthought once decisions on construction, manufacturing, infrastructure and even waste management have been made. 

“If the North of England and the Midlands are to thrive, it is critical that logistics is considered as part of the wider plans for the region’s future, and not viewed in isolation or simply as a mode of transport. This is why our members – businesses from right across the supply chain – are keen for the regional Mayors to understand the importance of the sector and recognise the role it can play in getting growth going.”  

Alongside the call for senior logistics leads, the ambition for the manifestos is that all candidates will adopt their proposals to ensure that the impact of the logistics industry can be maximised for the benefit of everyone across the regions. Walker continues,  

“Logistics has a critical role to play in addressing the strategic opportunities and challenges facing the North of England and the Midlands, to make it cleaner, safer and more prosperous and, ultimately, a better place to live and work. When it is considered as part of wider economic development, logistics can and does drive real growth – our research has shown that, given the role it deserves, our sector would deliver up to £7.9 billion in UK productivity-led growth per year. 

“But to be able to achieve that level of growth, logistics businesses, their needs and concerns need to be part of the bigger agenda for the regional mayors and not considered as an unnecessary afterthought.” 

Logistics UK’s regional manifestos also includes calls to develop innovative and integrated infrastructure plans that will ensure goods are moved in the most productive, strategic and green manner.  Logistics UK’s member businesses are keen to see investment in river crossings, as well as innovative solutions for major routes, kerbside access and home deliveries. At the same time, as Walker concludes, it is vital that the region’s road safety standards are maintained – something which the logistics sector is fully committed to achieving: 

“Logistics businesses in the region need to operate as safely and efficiently as possible, with the most vulnerable road users protected and innovation and education used to maximise the use of new ideas for operation. At the same time, the industry is committed to a greener future and a coordinated approach to logistics would help the sector achieve its goals by linking disparate areas of policymaking and identifying opportunities for all. Our industry stands ready to deliver for the North of England and the Midlands – our businesses deserve support at the highest level of local government to help us achieve this.” 

Download copies of the manifestos here: 
Logistics UK – 2024 North of England Manifesto 
Logistics UK – 2024 Midlands Manifesto   

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.