Industry gathers for UKWA National Conference

May 16 | 2018

From the likely impacts of Brexit, new regulations and labour shortages through to online retail and real estate, 25 expert speakers pulled no punches on the key issues affecting the logistics industry over UKWA’s two-day National Conference, held in Chesterfield in March.

120 delegates heard directly from HMRC about the potential options for new Customs processes post-Brexit and harsh penalties for those not complying with the new Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme, that came into force at the beginning of April this year.

On behalf of HMRC’s EU Exit Policy team Tom Parry Jones declared he was ‘here to listen’ to conference delegates, but was told by Barbara Scott, founder of Customs Associates and an UKWA special advisor, that two years was simply not enough time for businesses to adapt to the post-Brexit world. In a live poll at the conference, 52% of delegates said they were ‘as ready as they could be’ for Brexit, with 23% saying they were ‘not at all prepared’.

Savills’ Director of Research Kevin Mofid told conference that 2018 has seen the best ever quarter for take up of space, but that it remains a landlord’s market. He said with only 6.5% vacancy nationwide and 3% in London, property developers were failing to react to market demand, while global investors are taking advantage of a weak pound and are snapping up available real estate.

John Munnelly from John Lewis Partnership talks at the UKWA National ConferenceOther speakers on day one included: Andrew Marston, Director Research UK at CBRE; Lynn Parnell of Logistics Partners; Tim Ward of architects Chetwoods;  and guest speaker John Harvey, who led the intercontinental logistics service provider Tibbett & Britten Group plc for 20 years. Day two included presentations from John Munnelly, from John Lewis Partnership; Lucas Dawe, Commercial Director at Gist; Stuart Taylor of training organisation Mentor; and Mark Thornton of Maginus.

Summarising the event, UKWA CEO Peter Ward said that the conference had been intense, informative and exciting, with interactive technology enabling live polls and questions to be posed by delegates to speakers throughout presentations. “We have identified many of the challenges and issues we are facing as an industry, discussed opportunities and considered potential solutions,” he said. “This year’s theme ‘Adapting for success in an unpredictable world’ was well received by delegates and comprehensively addressed by our expert speakers. I’m proud of the UKWA’s contemporary approach and current direction.  Increasingly this Association is facilitating vital knowledge transfer, sharing best-practice and driving the dialogue between our industry and those influencing the policies that will affect all of our lives for many years to come.”

Photo: John Munnelly from John Lewis Partnership talks at the UKWA National Conference