Logistics companies which manage supply chains for high street brands such as Zara, Nike and Argos have all experienced a post-Brexit boost. It comes as the sector was already making the most of an online shopping boom sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
Tony Mannix, chief executive of Leeds-based Clipper, said the company had seen higher demand for stocking products and handling online returns for multinational retailers operating in the UK and the EU because it has warehouses on both sides of the Channel.
He told the FT: “Brexit has caught some people out. We see Brexit as an opportunity, not a threat.
“As the high street is starting to emerge out of darkness, we’re going to see other things develop that will help the logistics sector.”
Mr Mannix said soaring e-commerce and a contract to deliver personal protective equipment for the NHS had seen his company’s share price quadrupled since last March.
And he said the logistics sector would benefit from attempts to blend online and physical retail through more efficient returns systems, inventory management and click-and-collect services.
Warrington-based Eddie Stobart reported a rise in demand for cross docking – delivering products from factories to customers with little or no storage in between – and for warehouse space for goods yet to be processed by customs.
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Another UK logistics specialist, Wincanton, based in Chippenham, Wilts, expects revenues for its public and industrial business to rise by 10 percent in the quarter to March 31 over a year earlier partly because of higher activity on contracts for inland border clearance services.
Xpediator, the Braintree-based company, said it had to take on 50 extra staff to cope with customs clearance outsourcing requests.
The surprise logistics industry boom comes amid growing optimism about Britain’s economic recovery in the wake of coronavirus and Brexit.
A German-British Chamber of Commerce survey indicates 35 percent of firms plan to boost investment, up from a mere five percent six months ago.
By contrast, 20 percent had indicated plans to decrease investment six months ago, but that number stands now at just 10 percent.
In total 44 percent of companies expect to hire new employees – also a big improvement on last autumn when just 11 per cent planned to do so.