Stephen Carr – Lloyds List debate blog

Stephen Carr – Lloyds List debate blog

Last week, Stephen Carr, Commercial Director at Peel Ports Group, joined a panel of shipping experts to debate the burgeoning logistics crisis facing the industry. The following blog reveals his key takeaways from the discussion.

The Lloyds List Panel event was designed to ignite a fresh debate about what the shipping industry can do to save the UK’s logistics crisis.

Facilitated by Helen Kelly, Lloyds List’s Europe Editor-in-Chief, the Oxford Style debate saw us being split into two teams – with one side arguing that the shipping industry could save the UK logistics crisis and the other arguing against it. I was in the latter team.

The logistics crisis is a topic I find myself discussing frequently and at length with colleagues, suppliers and customers. And while I agree in part that the industry can help UK logistics, I don’t fully agree that it can save it entirely which is why I really wanted to be part of the conversation in a more public setting, in front of an audience of industry peers.

I believe that as a collective, we simply cannot afford to work in isolation, with our heads down, focusing solely on our role within the supply chain. It’s time to stop chasing chickens and start mending the fence.

Collaboration and collective lobbying are the only ways to make a real difference when it comes to helping the UK’s logistics sector advance.

It was heartening to hear many of my fellow panel members echo this view. Paul Millar, former CEO of Shop Direct also pointed out that the core infrastructure needs fixing, highlighting that spending changes need to be made to make motorways fit for purpose, and lower fuel costs in the UK, which is currently the third most expensive in Europe.

Enabling the supply chain with door to door connectivity through logistics is crucial. Bringing more business to the North of England makes perfect sense and is something Peel Ports has been championing with our Cargo 200 Initiative, calling on importers and exporters whose goods begin or end their journey in the north of the UK, to switch current delivery of ocean freight from south-east ports to the centrally located Port of Liverpool.

60percent of the goods shipped into the South of England, is actually intended for the North West. If it was to come to the North first, we would avoid unnecessary carbon emissions, road congestion and costs. Cargo 200 aims to cut freight mileage by 200 million miles over the next five years and could save up to £400 per container in transportation costs by delivering to the heartland of the UK. It is the right solution, but we need more support to make the change a tangible one. And we’re almost there.

Thankfully it’s not just us talking about a logistics crisis. A report commissioned by the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) – Feeding London 2030 – which was published earlier this year, highlighted that London and other UK cities are facing a food and drink logistics crisis unless operators and planning authorities take appropriate action. With London’s population predicted to grow from 9 million to 11 million by 2050, pressure on logistics to deliver essential supplies will mount, which will undoubtedly have a knock on effect to us in the North, exactly the reason why we’re looking at the bigger picture now and lobbying for Cargo 200.

It was a brilliant debate and I believe we’re mending that fence already. 

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