North West England – The Good Old Days Are Set To Roll Again
As the owner of a leading Third party Logistics Company with its roots firmly embedded in the North West I am often asked by overseas businesses the following two questions:
• Do you have any central warehousing in the Midlands?
• Do you have any warehousing close to the southern ports of Felixstowe, Tilbury and Southampton?
On those two questions alone you can get a good feel for how International businesses presently see the UK logistics landscape. There is a general misconception that Central England (The Midlands) is Central UK and that the Southern Ports are the only ticket in town. Of course they are soon corrected and assured that the North West of England is indeed Central UK and is THE prime location for International businesses looking to trade with the UK.
After all where else in the UK can you access the following attributes?
• Access to over 35 million consumers within 150 miles of Liverpool Port
• The largest volume and density of large warehousing (over 9,000 sqm) of any region, encapsulating more than 28% of the UK’s large warehousing and more than the Golden Triangle (20%)
• Excellent multimodal connections, with 10 motorways within 10 miles of Liverpool2 and 10 rail linked terminals
• Access to the most centrally located deep water container terminal in the UK to allow global services to connect with Liverpool
• Direct connections the heart of the UK, Scotland and Ireland from the shipping lines.
• Access to the Green Water Highway that connects the two great cities of Liverpool and Manchester via the Manchester Ship Canal
It appears that our Maritime and Industrial heritage right here in the North West has been lost on the younger generation and it’s about time the region put that right.
With the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse running alongside game changing development projects such as Airport City, HS2, the resurgence of Manchester port and the imminent arrival of Liverpool2 all of that is about to change.
Without question the opening of Liverpool2 will shake up the UK Logistics market and the wider global supply chain. For any North West business with trade links to America, Asia-Europe, South America Intra-European, and the Indian Subcontinent then Liverpool is a logical choice.
It becomes a no brainer for businesses looking to explore importing and exporting via its closest commercial seaport and enjoy tangible benefits such as:
• Shorter lead times
• A more cost effective route to market i.e. Reduced Inland Haulage Costs
• A more carbon efficient footprint
The incessant rise in online retail will also see increased demand on the supply chain as a whole. Consumer demand has never been greater and the demand for prime grade A warehousing in prime geographical locations is off the scale.
The return of the “speculative build” is a good barometer that prime warehousing stock is low and investor confidence is high.
The on-going development of Omega North / South is just one of the many examples of major construction work being undertaken to ensure adequate industrial and commercial stock in the region.
As a region if we have confidence in demand, and we are fast putting infrastructure into place then the missing link here is PEOPLE.
The question isn`t whether we have sufficient numbers of people to fill the jobs in the region but more so do we have the sufficient experience and skill?
Whilst everyone is busy building infrastructure we mustn`t forget that it is the quality of people that will give the North West region the edge and the “preferred location” status.
The skill gap problem in the logistics sector isn`t just isolated to the North West in general but is more a UK wide challenge. Providing we can overcome the skill gap in the region then the combined components of demand, physical infrastructure and a skilled workforce will ensure that the region stays at the forefront of supply chain innovation for many years to come.
It`s high time we showed a generation what they`ve been missing…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
With its head office based in the North West Ian is the Managing Director and original founder of 3P Logistics, a leading provider of global logistics and order fulfilment. His business provides outsourced supply chain support to a wide range of UK & International b2b & b2c clientele. Recent winners of the Wigan business awards the business also works closely with various affiliated bodies in helping its UK based clients to grow internationally.
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