Logistics sector adapting to eCommerce challenges

One of the key challenges facing today's UK logistics industry surrounds the rapid changes taking place in eCommerce and online shopping habits, a new publication has revealed.

The Logistics Report 2014 – the Freight Transport Association's (FTA) analysis of the themes shaping the transport and logistics industry over the last 12 months – says that the UK's continued leading role in online retail is causing the logistics and transport sectors to rethink their models to ensure future growth.

Conducted in association with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the latest FTA report identified that 27% of consumers are now shopping online on a weekly basis, while tablet and smartphones will account for 25% of online retail sales by 2017, creating further requirements for more flexible shopping and delivery options.

FTA CEO Theo de Pencier commented: "These are changing times for the transport and logistics industry, particularly in light of the explosion of eCommerce and online shopping.

"As a result, consumer demands for flexible deliveries have increased – providing retailers and the logistics sector the challenge to achieve the required level of flexibility. The Logistics Report 2014 reflects this fast-paced revolution and outlines the need for the freight and logistics industry to develop a simple, scalable and flexible supply chain to be able to react quickly to evolving trends."

It seems that a growing eCommerce market and overall improvement in other economic measures has boosted sentiment within the logistics sector over the last 12 months, with FTA members reporting increased optimism about business growth.

The report found that over half of FTA members expect increased business activity during the coming year, and that they anticipate the number of redundancies to reduce and the number of staff to increase.

Coolin Desai, UK transport & logistics leader at PwC, said: "The transport and logistics sector is taking centre stage, increasingly recognised as key to stimulating trade, helping business efficiency and supporting economic growth.

"In an era of accelerated globalisation, with both business and consumers demanding better transport options, an integrated transport strategy is more important than ever. Getting this right will be key to driving the best return on investment."