Cautious welcome from UKWA for latest ONS report

April 12, 2022

Clare Bottle, Chief Executive of the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) has responded to a report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) ‘The rise of the UK warehouse and the “golden logistics triangle”, with a qualified welcome.

The report, published 11th April, which is thought to be the first from the ONS to focus on the transport, logistics and warehousing industry and its importance for the UK and local economies, considers changes over the last decade and since coronavirus (COVID-19).

Commenting on the report, Clare said, “While we welcome increased interest in our industry from government, we have some concerns around the integrity of the data. For example, the definition of ‘transport, logistics and warehousing’ in the ONS report extends to businesses such as taxi firms and other passenger transport operations, which are not usually categorised as part of our sector.

Similarly, there are significant omissions, in that the report findings exclude retail and wholesale logistics users, which are major drivers for increased warehousing demand. Warehousing for companies like Amazon, Tesco and DHL will not have been considered in this report, so clearly the overall picture will be distorted.”

However, UKWA has noted that despite anomalies in the ONS report, it chimes with the findings from a recently published report by the British Property Federation (BPF) and UKWA, which showed that the transport, storage and logistics sector is critical to the governments levelling up agenda. On this basis, Clare repeated UKWA’s call for more support from government.

“Transport and storage growth is the fastest growing of any industry group, and our sector – along with e-commerce – is expected to continue to grow. Yet there is little or no government support for our sector in meeting the serious challenges of current labour shortages, planning and the transition to net zero,” she said. “We look forward to raising our concerns with the ONS and working with them – and other government departments –  to promote greater awareness of our role in the UK economy, more accurate insights into the sector and better understanding of the challenges we face.”