Logistics industry unites in call for dedicated government minister

March 19, 2024

Heads of the UK’s leading logistics trade associations are urging the next government to recognise the value the sector provides to the economy and appoint a dedicated minister for logistics with cross-departmental responsibilities.

Eleven of the UK’s leading logistics trade associations have cosigned a letter which was delivered to the leaders of the UK’s and devolved nations’ main political parties today, highlighting the role logistics can play in boosting growth and productivity, if backed by the right policies and a dedicated minister supported by a Cabinet Office structure to support delivery across Whitehall. The logistics sector underpins the economy and, according to the associations, generates £163 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) and contributes significant tax revenue for the UK, including £5 billion from Fuel Duty and Vehicle Excise Duty alone.

Clare Bottle, UKWA CEO said, “The UK needs a Logistics Minister to champion the growth opportunities we represent and ensure Government meets the needs of our sector. Our national 2024 The Year of Warehousing campaign is aimed at raising awareness and appreciation of our industry, particularly within Government, where sadly it is too often overlooked.

As logistics underpins the whole economy and employs over 8% of all the working people in the UK, we deserve Ministerial attention. Our UK Warehousing Association Election Manifesto (due to be published next month) contains eight separate ‘asks’, of eight different departments, so more joined-up Government is essential to support our sector.”

The associations are looking to work with the Government on a range of issues, including radical planning reform, long-term infrastructure investment and an increase in transport capacity, growth in trade as well as a joint UK government-logistics sustainability and decarbonisation road map, and skills policies that enable the sector to attract and retain talent.

Phil Roe, President of Logistics UK and Chair of the cross-industry group, concludes, “Achieving a policy environment that unleashes the potential for logistics to drive the economy would bring untold benefits. Our industry supports all households, businesses and public services, and can play a larger role in supporting the UK’s economic recovery and growth for the future. Member businesses across all associations stand ready to play their part, but their concerns need to be considered at the start of the decision-making process. A dedicated logistics minister working across Whitehall would give us the voice to shape plans and maximise the benefits which logistics can deliver.”

He added: “As a sector, logistics has the ability to transform the way other industries operate, and could deliver up to £7.9 billion in productivity-led growth per year by 2030, according to research from Oxford Economics. To do this, our industry needs a focus from government, combined with radical planning reform, long-term infrastructure investment and a firm commitment to increase transport capacity nationwide.

“Our priority is to work closely with government to boost trade and protect the UK’s highly interconnected supply chain, for the benefit of both consumers and businesses, as we approach the next government’s term. Irrespective of who wins the next election, logistics will have a fundamental role to play in achieving the UK’s priorities.”

The signatories of the letter are:

Richard Ballantyne OBE, Chief Executive, British Ports Association

Clare Bottle, Chief Executive, UK Warehousing Association

Geraint Evans, Chief Executive, UK Major Ports Group

Amanda Francis, Chief Executive, Association of International Courier & Express Services

Steve Parker, Director General, British International Freight Association

Phil Pluck, Chief Executive, Cold Chain Federation

Paul Sanders, Founder & Chair, Association of Pallet Networks

Maggie Simpson OBE, Director General, Rail Freight Group

Richard Smith, Managing Director, RHA