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Logistics market faces uncertain year, according to FTA

The logistics industry in the UK is set for uncertain times as inflationary pressures and the uncertainty of Brexit take their toll, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

The trade body has produced the FTA Logistics Report 2018, in association with Santander, which polled the opinions of around 500 freight and logistics businesses operating in the UK and internationally.

It found that generally respondents were positive about their 2017 trading performance but worried about the future. “With positive growth in domestic and international road freight, as well as the majority of air freight import/export business, sea freight movements and a rebound in rail intermodal services, there is much for the logistics industry to be encouraged by,” said Elizabeth de Jong, FTA’s Director of UK Policy.

“However, with inflationary pressures at home and abroad and the uncertainty of trading relationships post-Brexit, it is clear that many operators are far from confident about their future business prospects,” she said.

According to the report domestic and international road freight performed positively during 2017, while air freight operators and intermodal rail service users reported generally encouraging business growth.  International sea freight customers reported the strongest lane growth in 2017 to and from the Far East, and predicted that 2018 should be a good year for international shipping, with growth expected on almost all routes.

14% of those questioned said that they had already curtailed investment decisions since the vote to leave the EU. Respondents were also concerned about the impact on EU workers, with 35% of respondents highlighting that a restriction on worker movement would have a detrimental effect on their businesses.

“The mood for 2018 in the freight industry is one of cautious optimism but trading conditions can change on a knife edge, and it is vital that the businesses which support the nation’s economy are given as much opportunity as possible to maintain and build on their trading relationships,” said de Jong.

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