Key UK Statistics in Freight 2020

The year 2020 introduced unprecedented times for all industries; when it came to the United Kingdom (UK) logistics industry they really delivered, quite literally, despite a global pandemic.

The industry really stepped up to the mark in order to ensure vital medical supplies, increased consumer demand and a decrease in workforce didn’t stand in the way of completing deliveries. 

According to the Office of National Statistics the UK’s ecommerce revenue from 2019 amounted to USD 82.4 Billion and confirms the UK as one of the most advanced ecommerce markets in Europe. In the UK ecommerce accounts for around 19% of total retail spending and means the logistics and transport industry must evaluate their infrastructure in order to accommodate continued growth. 

Despite the incredible disruption brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, the logistics industry has only shown how vital the industry is to the UK economy and beyond. The industry quickly adapted in order to scale back on risk and meet unprecedented demands.

A survey given by Logistics UK showed that 85% of respondents reported a general business downturn with many cancellations. By May of 2020 this had reduced to 60% with adaptations made by the supply chain helping to ease the impact. 

The number one change we have seen in 2020, that has had a significant impact on the logistics industry, is of course the increase in internet use and ecommerce. According to TouchStar approximately 61.9% of non essential sales were made online in May 2020. This in turn has seen an increase in robotic and automated methods to bridge the gap in decreased workforce and social distancing measures. 

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption to many industries, however adaptations and changes made over the past year are helping to keep logistics on the move. The biggest change to the UK logistics industry in 2021 is Brexit and we have already seen significant disruptions to road freight already this year. 

With this in mind it is thought that we will see a significant increase in the use of rail freight over the coming months and years in the UK. According to Mordor Intelligence rail freight is expected to steadily increase by 3% year on year. Network Rail has also forecast that rail freight could potentially grow by 30% by 2035. 

The pandemic has served to demonstrate the resilience and importance of the UK logistics industry and the difficulties the industry has faced have been no less than any other. Although the unprecedented demand placed on freight and the shipping industry is matched only by a handful of other industries, they have worked tirelessly whilst adhering to social distancing measures and safeguarding staff. 

It is clear the end is not yet in sight with added pressures of vaccine deliveries and ongoing lockdown measures which impact the demand on ecommerce and delivery services. Brexit continues to cause delays, restrictions and uncertainty but logistics remains unwavered and will no doubt continue to contribute to substantial economic growth within the UK.

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