UKWA National Conference celebrates 2024 Year of Warehousing

March 19, 2024

UKWA celebrated 2024 The Year of Warehousing at its biggest and best National Conference ever last week at Nottingham’s East Midlands Conference Centre.

Big brands, hot topics and a series of new initiatives made for an exciting, informative, and memorable event.

The conference kicked off with global economist Professor Trevor Williams, who delivered a hard hitting analysis of the UK economy and worldwide geopolitical trends. He highlighted the fast pace of change and the current climate of uncertainty but was optimistic about continued growth and future opportunities for the sector, noting the rising importance of warehousing.

Specialist speakers discussed topical issues from best practice in sustainability and combatting crime, to fast food warehousing and retaining a happy workforce, while industry leaders, including Nick Hay, CEO at Gist, and James Stephens, Vice President Corporate Affairs at DHL, offered expert insights. Nick spoke about his personal experience of mergers & acquisitions. James paid tribute to DHL’s partnership with UKWA, engaging with Government to raise the sector’s profile and increase industry influence on national policy, relating to energy, land use, skills and more.

Following on from James’ presentation, the UKWA policy team launched the association’s UKWA manifesto, which will be presented to MPs at a Parliamentary Reception next month. Simon Edwards legal advisor from Aaron & Partners LLP, outlined important updates to the ‘gold standard’ UKWA Conditions of Contract, and Kevin Mofid, Head of Industrial & Logistics Research at Savills, unveiled key statistics and major shifts within the warehousing property market detailed in UKWA’s latest report.

The winner of UKWA’s Year of Warehousing Student Bursary was announced at the conference as Sina Khodaee from the University of Bath, whose £800 prize and certificate was presented by Phil Rowe, executive sponsor of Generation Logistics and President of Logistics UK.

Shadow Minister Bill Esterson was in attendance, reassuring conference dinner guests that the sector’s interests have been recognised and understood, and on a lighter note, after dinner entertainer,  self-styled ‘Joyologist’ Donna Eastern, captured the upbeat mood with her exuberant examination of human happiness at work.

Commenting on the success of the event, UKWA CEO Clare Bottle said: “This year’s National Conference has been truly exceptional, with over 200 attendees, more than 35 expert speakers and 20 exhibitors. Key themes to emerge were the continuing importance of people to the success of our sector and the imperative of innovative solutions in a volatile world, which was captured superbly in a presentation by our headline sponsor, Visku.

It was wonderful to be able to learn from the best and brightest industry speakers and to network with valued colleagues and potential customers.

We have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback and enthusiastic comments from delegates on the calibre of our conference and we look forward to welcoming everyone to the next events in what is an extremely busy Year of Warehousing calendar – namely, our first Roadshow at Howard Tenens’ Stroud faility in April, and of course, our fabulous UKWA Lunch & Awards for Excellence!”