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LOGISTICS WORKER SHORTAGE REACHING CRISIS POINT T


he government must urgently review the Apprenticeship Levy to prevent a severe


shortage of logistics workers post-Brexit, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the business organisation representing the logistics industry. With the anniversary of the Apprenticeship Levy fast approaching (6 April), many businesses are still unable to utilise its funding. As Sally Gilson, FTA’s head of skills commented, this is despite the logistics sector contributing more than £100 million to the central funding pot, as well as a lack of suitable apprenticeship standards: “The logistics industry is the lifeblood of the UK


economy, employing more than 2.5 million people and contributing £121 billion to the nation’s GVA (gross value added). Yet it is facing a ticking time bomb: the ever-increasing shortage of skilled workers; there are currently 52,000 vacancies for


HGVs drivers alone. And with the prospect of losing access to vital EU workers, the shortage could reach catastrophic levels. From HGV drivers to warehouse staff, the UK economy simply cannot operate without the logistics workforce – businesses would come grinding to a halt and Britain would cease trading.” Since April 2017 businesses with annual payrolls


of more than £3m must pay 0.5 per cent of their wage bill to the Apprentice Levy which is effectively an additional tax. Businesses can then use their levy funds for apprenticeship training. However, vital logistics apprenticeships are either still to be approved after over two years in development or are in desperate need of amending to make them fit for purpose. Gilson continued: “It has been immensely


frustrating trying to secure funded training for the logistics sector. These apprenticeships would assist


in promoting logistics professions and yet, over two years in, we feel like we’re no closer to gaining the standards we desperately need across the industry. Our members would love to use their levy funds and bring young people into the sector, but this is being thwarted by the Institute for Apprenticeships. The levy also ignores the other quality vocational training that could be utilised by businesses but can’t as all their training budgets are now taken up by paying the levy. Rather than forcing employers to try and make apprenticeships work for all training needs why not recognise that there is no one size fits all and amend this to a Training Levy? Alternatively, the money could be used as an emergency fund to assist employers facing extreme skills shortages due to the government’s restriction on EU workers. Without the reallocation of funds, the UK could not cope with the loss of European workers post-Brexit.”


ONWARD HOLDINGS DELIVERING LOGISTICS LOCATIONS S


ignificant investment by Onward Holdings Ltd is boosting the company’s portfolio of


prime sites for warehousing and managed third-party logistics services in West Yorkshire, offering businesses the opportunity of leasing 72,000sq ft of racked space at South Kirkby. This latest addition to Onward Holdings’


Managed 3PL portfolio is a high-quality facility that can be leased on flexible terms and is available as a result of the success of the company’s Castleford site as the pressure grows for more logistics and industrial property in the UK. Onward Holdings, a specialist in operating


highly competitive warehousing, will soon have 66,000sq ft available at Phoenix Park on the Green Lane Industrial Estate in Featherstone and planning permission for building just under 10,000sq ft of premium, modern, open plan office space at its managed Castleford warehouse, which will offer existing customers the opportunity to further integrate and expand their operations from June 2019. Geographically ideal for quick getaways to UK


markets, Featherstone, Castleford and South Kirkby provide a triple boost to the country’s logistics and warehousing stock at a time when demand for storage space is outstripping supply. Phoenix Park will provide extra capacity for a


managed 3PL high bay warehouse less than three miles away from the M62 junction 31. Other major transport connections in close proximity to the site include the M1 and A1M, northern container ports, rail freight facilities at Wakefield and Doncaster Airport. Due to its central geographical position, the


East Midlands has long been favoured as a logistics hub for the UK. However, premium space comes at a premium price and while land values are increasing all over the country, there are many operating reasons why businesses planning their supply chain strategy should consider locations in the north of England. The proliferation of e-commerce and discount


retailers taking up available space, combined with the move towards same day delivery, means there is now increased demand for additional


facilities in the north. Onward Holdings is currently looking for more land near to the motorway junctions to build those warehouse and industrial units that will offer an alternative to locations in middle England. Successfully meeting the challenge of providing


industrial space is vital for local economies, says Onward Holdings director Neil Storey, who added: “Local authorities face tricky decisions over valuable land resources, but we need to create high quality and strategic logistics and warehousing sites across our region, which will bring long-term benefits and thousands of jobs to local areas.” Family-run business Onward Holdings


specialises in operating highly competitively priced industrial warehousing and retail parks in the north of England. Its other warehousing sites include Doncaster and Scunthorpe as well as the very busy Onyx Retail Park at Wath upon Dearne. Site promotion for Phoenix Park is being


handled jointly by Andrew Miller Chartered Surveyors and Iain McPhail, Knight Frank.


MIDLAND PALLET TRUCKS BACKS HSE POST-BREXIT ADVICE AS STOCKPILING LOOKS SET TO CONTINUE T


he West Midlands materials handling firm, Midland Pallet Trucks has added its


voice to the HSE’s reminder that health and safety standards must be maintained post- Brexit regardless of the deal on the table as the nation’s warehouses, factories and logistics firms flurry to meet stockpiling demands in the face of a possible Brexit delay. The reminder comes as consumers and


businesses continue to stockpile goods in order to buffer against any disruption as the Brexit process continues. With the potential of the deadline now being extended for another three months, it’s feasible that space will soon become short and factories and warehouses busier than ever.


4 MARCH 2019 | MATERIALS HANDLING & LOGISTICS Phil Chesworth, Midland Pallet Trucks


director says: “As we wait to find out what happens in the new round of votes, it’s entirely feasible that we’ll see stockpiling extended even further with productivity ramped up across the next several weeks. This presents a number of issues, not least of which is actual storage space, but it also means that there’ll be a lot more pallets and products being moved around. “Factories and warehouses can expect to be


busier, which means health and safety is a concern now but it’s also going to be an important consideration when Brexit does take place. Maintaining the stringent health and safety standards observed as part of the EU is still very much the expectation and legal


requirement and we back HSE’s reminder that this should be the case after we leave the EU.” Midland Pallet Trucks specialises in materials


handling equipment and stocks a range of essentials including high lift pallet trucks, weighing scale trucks and manual stacker trucks. Its equipment helps keep workers safe and productive, with high-quality trucks suited for a wide range of applications, including specialist and harsh environments.Midland Pallet Trucks is part of the Midland Bearings Ltd Group. Midland Bearings has nearly 20 million bearings and nearly 30 thousand lines of bearings from stock. Partner sites include Midland Scales, Pallet Truck Shop and Pallet Trucks UK.


www.midlandpallettrucks.com 


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