The UK supply chain: What can we expect from 2017 and beyond?
2016 was a politically turbulent year, with the potential to affect so many areas of the supply chain business. Undoubtedly, we will experience the aftershock and ratifications of these key events during 2017.
Without doubt, the main topic of conversation last year was Brexit and its potential impact on the logistics industry, which may affect many UK-based industries. This is certainly a conversation that we will be keeping close to, as it includes consequences to trade, labour movement, investment and regulatory harmony between the UK and the EU. Of course, Britain’s complex negotiations to exit the EU can only begin once Article 50 has been triggered, which is expected at the end of March. Whilst uncertainty ahead remains, there are potential benefits to the move. It’s business as usual for Priority Freight, however, and we will continue to actively work within the EU, delivering first-class, worldwide logistics solutions.
In our business, any developments around ports and airports are hugely significant. In October, we heard the news that Heathrow’s expansion plans were approved. The third runway, which could be built by 2025, means increased capacity and additional connections, supporting our ability to deliver your urgent requests on time.
As for the ports, since the notorious ‘Jungle’ migrant camp adjacent to the port of Calais was dismantled, freight traffic flows have eased considerably, with night traffic reporting a 26% month-on-month increase, compare to November. Since the removal of the camp, an 87% dip in migrant activity has also been recorded by the port, and this includes an 87.5% drop in the number of migrants infiltrating lorries. Figures in November show port activity up by more than 8% on November 2015, and alongside the increased activity, the French authorities have reported no more assaults on the port’s access road since the bulldozers moved in on the camp.
During the height of the Calais strikes and ongoing migrant crisis, we saw unprecedented use of Operation Stack. Such delays interrupted scheduled deliveries from component suppliers and threatened car production during one of their busiest periods. Of course, Priority Freight kept manufacturers in production. To ease future delays caused by Operation Stack, the Department for Transport announced in July 2016 that a new lorry park for 3,600 vehicles is to be built to the north of junction 11 of the M20, with completion expected by Summer 2017.
For Priority Freight, 2017 holds huge opportunities for our trusted network of partners and customers. We now enter our 21st year, and we do so with renewed vigour to deliver the fastest, most cost-effective and reliable solutions, time and time again. Priority Freight thrives in situations that require complex solutions to seemingly insurmountable logistical issues – our people understand the intricate geopolitical factors at work across Europe, as they must to keep ahead of the situation and best serve the global supply chain.