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Logistics Confidence Index

23 November 2020

Barclays and BDO, in conjunction with specialist sector research agency Analytiqa, have produced the latest in a series of surveys to assess confidence and expectations in the UK logistics sector.

More than 100 senior decision-makers, including chief executive officers, managing directors and chief financial officers, provided their views and insights for this survey, conducted during September and October 2020.

Confidence at lowest ever level

Our overall Confidence Index has fallen from 49.7 in 2019 to 47.1 this year. This continues the downward trend we have seen in recent years and takes the Index to its lowest level since our survey began in 2012.

However, logistics continues to be a strong and resilient sector and remains a major contributor to the UK economy – total combined UK revenue for the 100+ companies surveyed is £16.4bn and even under the highly challenging and uncertain economic conditions of 2020 nearly half (48.9%) of them say they still expect to see profits increase over the next 12 months.

Read the full report below to find out what this might mean for future investment in infrastructure, technology and sustainability; impacts on the workforce; and how the UK logistics sector can continue to add value to customers.

Read the full 2020 Logistics Confidence Report PDF

  • Key takeaways

    Our Confidence Index has fallen from 49.7 in 2019 to 47.1 this year, its lowest-ever level and the second year running it has dipped below 50.

    • Two-thirds (67.1%) of respondents say current business conditions have become tougher in the past 12 months.
    • While half of respondents (50.6%) think business conditions will get more difficult in the year ahead, and less than half (48.9%) think profits will be up, many still see opportunities to grow revenues by focusing on the changing supply chain, the growth of e-commerce and delivering value-added services
    • Three-fifths (60.2%) of those surveyed say Covid-19 had a negative effect on their business in 2020 – a dramatic and distorting factor as businesses enter a period of adjustment and adapt to new service lines and end markets
    • In addition to the pandemic, operators think the biggest challenges over the next 12 months will be driver shortages, Brexit and cost control
    • The long-standing shortage of drivers is being compounded by a lack of warehouse staff but employers also report that their wellness programmes are having positive effects on overall staff productivity, retention and absenteeism
    • System upgrades remain the main technology focus, but the sector has a growing appetite for investing in automation and other enabling technologies
    • More than 7 out of 10 businesses (72.2%) say they will be investing in sustainable, environmental or ‘green’ projects in the next 12 months
    • Predicted M&A activity over the next 12 months is at a level only just below the all-time high in 2017.
  • Industry Insight – Advanced Supply Chain Group
  • Industry Insight – The Woodland Group

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