Investment dithering costs UK dear, says forwarder’s chief

The British International Freight Association (BIFA), the UK’s main forwarders’ body, is calling for “real investment” in the country’s logistics network, including airports, ahead of the Chancellor’s
Emergency Budget tomorrow (July 8).

Director general Robert Keen described the “prolonged dithering” over extending runway capacity in south east England as “the supreme example of the procrastination that is at the heart of Government transport policy.”
He added: "It is time to get down to some long-term, strategic airport planning before the UK finally and irrevocably runs out of airport capacity."
The freight industry is often overlooked by politicians, Keen complained, despite the fact that 2.2m  people in the UK – one in 12 of the workforce – are employed in the sector, according to the Government’s own figures.
The specific part of the supply chain for which BIFA’s members are responsible is even less appreciated, he says Keen.
"The government needs to pay more attention to the value of international freight and logistics to the UK and urgently address issues that impact on the global supply chain, including Customs, EU legislation, security and international trade treaties.”
Keen also had something to say on the political hot potato of immigration.
He commented: “Immigrants are playing a vital role in keeping UK logistics moving, as drivers, warehouse operatives and, increasingly, management."
Any moves to restrict immigration from the rest of the EU or from further afield, "could potentially have a very serious impact on the logistics industry".
Education policy will also have a big impact on the health of the UK logistics sector, as the lack of public knowledge of and engagement with the industry needs to be tackled, if the industry is to successfully encourage and enthuse the next generation of logistics professionals.
Much more could be done to encourage young people to take up a career in the industry, which rarely appears on the radar of school careers officers or recruitment specialists, he said.

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