The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub’s latest SmartRegion report gathered information last month from its business engagements as well as data and information from Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council, the CWLEP and other organisations.
The West Midlands is renowned within the transport and logistics industry for its “Golden Triangle” location which is within easy reach of major motorway networks including the M1, M6 and M69 as well as being within four hours of ports and 90 per cent of the UK’s population.
Research from the Haulage Exchange around how the EU exit has impacted haulage companies highlighted that 15 per cent of businesses have seen an increase in demand for their services, and nine per cent are already seeing an increase in their workforce.
But 21 per cent of haulage companies reported lost business as a result of the UK’s departure from the EU although 40 per cent stated that they were currently not facing any changes.
And Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said it was encouraging that new employment opportunities have been created despite the impact of Covid-19 at the same time as the UK leaving the EU.
He said: “There is no doubt the transport and logistics sector is experiencing a difficult start to 2021 on the back of the UK’s exit from the EU, but there are some significant opportunities linked to both changing consumer and business behaviours to take advantage of in the coming months.
“There is further growth in e-commerce and online retailing, companies and their staff are showing an admirable resilience and there is an opportunity for a co-ordinated adoption of new technology as well as making the most of regional infrastructure assets such as 5G.
“There is also the opportunity for a higher and more positive profile for the industry to attract a more diverse workforce, including from sectors who have really suffered over the last year whose staff have transferrable skills.
“We also believe the UK’s supply chain can become more integrated and companies based in Coventry and Warwickshire within the ‘Golden Triangle’ can further develop an innovation hub.
“Transport and logistics is one of our key sectors in Coventry and Warwickshire and we must make the most of our strategically important central location and encourage more inward investment to further develop a cluster of transport and logistics companies in the heart of the UK.
“That is not to paper over the difficulties that many are facing with the delays to the delivery of goods and shortages in supply chains as businesses adjust to new paperwork and ways of working following the UK’s exit from the EU.
“It is unknown how long these impacts will last but it is certainly likely to be turbulent for aspects of the sector for some time to come.
“However, in this time of unprecedented change, more and more transport and logistics businesses are showing they have the ability to adapt and develop to lay the foundations for their future success.”