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Confidence in the UK logistics sector has fallen to its lowest ever level, according to the latest Barclays-BDO Logistics Confidence Index, which assesses the expectations of more than 100 senior decision-makers across the sector, with research undertaken by Analytiqa.
The Confidence Index has fallen from 49.7 in 2019 to 47.1 this year, continuing the downward trend seen in recent years and taking the score to its lowest level since the survey began in 2012.
This fall in confidence comes against a backdrop of unprecedented domestic and global uncertainty created by the pandemic, in addition to ongoing concerns over the UK’s future relationship with the EU and the continuing skills shortages.
The Index number, however, masks the high degree of polarisation in the views of operators, with results differing depending on the sectors they are most exposed to. A third of operators reported current business conditions as either the same or more favourable than 12 months ago, despite the economic disruption. Those focused on eCommerce and last-mile deliveries have fared relatively well, while others operating in manufacturing sectors, such as automotive, aerospace, oil and gas saw unprecedented levels of disruption.
The results are similar when asked about which industries are providing the greatest business opportunities in 2021 with more than a half of the operators surveyed (55.0%) saying online retail, 32.0% saying manufacturing and only 6.0% of respondents highlighting the automotive sector. This reflects how changes in consumer buying habits away from bricks and mortar stores to online purchasing and manufacturers direct selling have been exacerbated by Covid-19.
To illustrate the impact of Covid-19 on the sector, the vast majority of respondents (94.0%) stated that they have utilised the government’s Job Retention Scheme and staff furloughs to help them through the pandemic.
To view the full findings and to receive your complimentary copy of the latest report, please click here.