11th July 2022
Real Estate and Planning partners Adam Reed and Richard Sagar, members of Walker Morris’ cross-discipline Logistics team, summarise the key aspects of the UK government’s new paper, Future of Freight, which plans to address challenges currently facing the freight and logistics sector.
Supply chain challenges, border disruption and labour shortages caused by Brexit, Covid and the 2021 Suez Canal blockage, as well as, more recently, fuel price rises and the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, have all brought into sharp focus just how much the UK depends on freight and logistics, and also how much the sector needs support.
On 15 June 2002, the Department for Transport (DfT) published what it hopes will be an effective framework to address issues facing the sector: its Future of Freight plan.
The cross-modal  Future of Freight plan identifies five priority areas in which support, investment, change and innovation are required:
Specific proposals are advanced in relation to each of those areas:
Broadly, the Future of Freight plan sets out a five year plan in which the government commits to:
The plan states that progress will have been made when:
The Future of Freight plan has so far been largely welcomed by industry representatives, including the Head of Public Policy at Logistics UK and the Road Haulage Association. Of particular interest for those concerned with logistics-related real estate development, is the recognition that the process for promoters bringing forward development schemes currently faces significant complexity and cost. A review could potentially redress this.
Should the plan’s laudable aims be achieved, the UK freight and logistics industry should, in the medium to long term, see a boost in terms of efficiency and effectiveness at all levels. It is to be hoped that significant supply chain disruption can become a thing of the past. These are wide-ranging and ambitious goals, however and, as ever, the devil will be in the detail. In the short term, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the DfT has indicated that there will be a planning call for evidence to explore planning reform opportunities (albeit no date/timescale for such a call has yet been announced). It is likely to be Spring 2023 before specific plans for delivery of the plan’s objectives are formulated. Walker Morris will monitor and report on developments.
Walker Morris’ cross-discipline Logistics team draws on its members’ long-standing and wide-ranging experience of working with a broad range of clients involved in the sector. Our advice is pragmatic, commercial and always specifically tailored for our clients (who include include 3PL and 4PL operators, retailers and end users, manufacturers, warehouse providers, transport operators, developers and landowners).
If you would like any further advice or information in connection with the Future of Freight plan or indeed in relation to any commercial-, planning- or real estate- related logistics query or issue, please do not hesitate to contact Adam Reed and Richard Sagar, who will be very happy to help.
 that is, spanning rail, road, maritime, aviation, inland waterway and warehouse infrastructure