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UK forwarders ‘facing several significant challenges’


‘Brexit saga’ just one of multiple issues currently impacting freight agents, says BIFA, highlighting driver shortages, e-commerce growth, rising costs of fuel and road tolls, and incoming low-sulphur fuel regulations


UK freight forwarding and logistics companies are currently “facing a number of significant challenges to their provision of freight and logistics services for international trade”, not only Brexit, the British International Freight Association (BIFA) will highlight this week at the Multimodal 2019 event in Birmingham. 

Robert Keen, BIFA director general, said that “whist issues surrounding the ongoing Brexit saga are likely to be major talking points at Multimodal 2019, there will be plenty of other matters about which BIFA members are concerned on which the trade association is working hard.

“Driver shortages are playing out in higher input costs and threats to the longer term stability of the market. Ongoing e-commerce growth is leading to volatility for all operators in the Last Mile sector,” he highlighted.

“Fuel costs remain a continuing risk of doing business in the logistics industry, and the last year saw significant rises in the cost of fuel as well as tolls, which has squeezed margins for our members that are active in the European trailer services sector. The shipping sector is considering how it will handle the low sulphur fuel regulations which are due to be imposed on the shipping industry in 2020, and it would appear that their plans will lead to spikes in rates.”

Keen said all of these issues, and many more, will be in the thoughts of the freight sector “and our members will want to know what actions BIFA is pursuing on their behalf”.

BIFA will also be using the event to showcase its increasing involvement in recruitment and training. Carl Hobbis, BIFA training development manager, will be chairing a seminar that specifically addressed the issues involved in attracting, retaining and developing talent in transport, logistics and supply chain, and promoting the BIFA Young Forwarder Network, which BIFA launched earlier this year.

“We will also be using the event to further promote and encourage the take-up of the international freight forwarding specialist apprenticeship, which became available in 2018, in which BIFA played a lead role,” Hobbis said.

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