Here we are again, 2019 is drawing to a close and it feels like just yesterday when we wrote our blog last year, preparing for what 2019 had in store. This past year has seen a great deal of back and forth on multiple variations of Brexit deals.
Before 2018 came to a close, we said our final Brexit prediction is that of uncertainty and although there is still a need for clarity in some cases, we now have a deadline on 31st January. Businesses are now less in the dark over whether Brexit is going ahead or not and can begin preparations throughout next year. But what will this mean for logistics?
Although 2020 will be a year of waiting for trade deals and agreements between the UK and Europe, it would be beneficial to think about the future of businesses It’s safe to say that we’re in a better position now, with the new Brexit deadline approaching on 31st January of next year, to be prepared. Investing in surplus stock and storing the excess in safe and secure warehousing is important during the time of uncertainty.
Though the value of the pound recently surged, there is every chance it could dip again around the 31st January, purely down to the element of the unknown. This has every potential to affect businesses for a short period of time.
But the real challenge that 2020 has in store is the watching and waiting while trade deals are agreed. If all goes well with the withdrawal deal that Prime Minister Boris Johnson puts forward, the UK will then undergo almost a year’s worth of trade negotiations with the EU – lasting until December 2020. Whilst waiting for deals to be agreed, some may feel uneasy about the precariousness of the situation and thus this might affect how they operate day to day. Once negotiations end, though, it is likely that businesses will settle once more, and that 2021 will be much more stable for those in the logistics sector and beyond as both the EU and Britain are aiming for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
2020 is likely to continue to undergo the same pressures as its predecessor years: the skills shortage. Logistics famously has an ageing workforce, and the percentage of female and young workers is small. Will this new decade bring about a new start? We certainly hope that next year will be the one where a more diverse workforce becomes interested in the exciting prospects that a career in logistics has to offer. At Barnes Logistics, we’re big advocates of employing both female and young workers – so we hope to see real change in attitudes in the year ahead.
Border checks are another of the most important focuses for the year ahead. Amid Brexit, there are likely to be heightened and more thorough checks of those passing through borders whilst regulations are ironed out in talks. This could potentially cause queues at border control which in turn may have an impact on turnaround times. This being said, one way to soften the wait at the border which could be brought in to play would involve a ‘recognised business’ system. Where logistics companies, such as Barnes Logistics, would have to apply for a pass that would deem them as a safe passer at border control – meaning they wouldn’t be subject to thorough checks and thus, would reduce the wait time when passing.
There are certainly a lot of speculations to be had around what 2020 will bring, with the country in one of its most uncertain yet opportunistic periods in decades. What do you think the future holds for logistics? Let us know on Twitter.