Logistics firms ‘must embrace change’ to meet Brexit challenge

Companies are planning to take advantage of AI to maintain their competitive edge

Uncertainty over what Brexit will mean for business is casting a cloud over many sectors of the economy – but leaving the EU could be a catalyst for change for the better in at least one field, logistics.

“Whatever the merits of leaving the European Union, it seems certain that British industry will have to be more flexible to remain competitive,” says Steve Twydell, chief executive of 3T Logistics.

Therefore, he adds, it is “almost inevitable that Brexit will be a catalyst for a massive change over the next few years in the way that transport works, as well as in the way that our lives will look and feel in the future”.

Change is coming

In a survey of the sector last year, Barclays found that a frictionless border, mobility of labour and satisfactory trade agreements were the key concerns for logistics and transport firms as the UK gets ready for Brexit.

As e-commerce and a growing population continue to increase demand for drivers, uncertainty about labour has encouraged businesses to examine the potential benefits of using artificial intelligence and mobile technology.

Technology in the form of AI could help many firms optimise their existing resources, for example by planning more efficient delivery routes or helping to minimise the amount of time a vehicle is empty.

Britain’s decision to leave the EU has brought issues of productivity and trade into sharp focus, says Twydell, and that creates an opportunity for companies in his sector and beyond to act boldly.

“With the uncertainty of Brexit, now more than ever, UK companies need to be competitive – and a huge part of this is the way that they manage their logistics processes,” he told Automotive Supply Chain. “Our technology can help them optimise major parts of their supply chain and reduce operational costs.”

How banks can help

As they plan for the long-term changes being ushered in by 4IR, many international businesses are also concerned about their ability to carry out the basic financial functions needed to trade with EU nations immediately after Brexit – such as making and receiving payments in multiple countries and currencies.

Barclays is addressing those fears by preparing for all possible outcomes and mitigating the risks. Richard Smith, head of transport and logistics at Barclays Corporate Banking explains:

“We are working with regulators to ensure we can provide continued access to European markets, even if UK banks lose so-called passporting rights – which license them to operate throughout the EU’s single market.

“We are also investing in our EU business, and developing financial products to meet the specialised needs of clients, under our #BackingBritain programme.

“Our industry experts are well positioned to help clients to understand the impact Brexit will have on their supply chains, and make the most of opportunities it provides, as well as mitigating the risks.”












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