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Logistics sector sees strong growth but remains cautious

By: William Hobson
24 November 2010

Half of transport and storage companies involved in the UK logistics profession have seen an increase in new customers over the third quarter of 2010, according to a new poll of the sector.

CILT UK News reports that research by Bibby Financial Services has indicated that the logistics sector is experiencing promising growth. The research shows that turnover has risen to 109.1 points during September 2010, helping to drive logistics recruitment across the country as the sector expands to accommodate corresponding growth among client industries.

Despite these promising signs, sentiment in the sector appears to remain somewhat depressed. A significant minority of respondents said they were still encountering difficult trading conditions in the market, whilst many complained of a lack of viable access to finance from banks and lenders. 40% of respondents, the highest of all industrial sectors surveyed by Bibby, said they believed that the loosing of lending criteria would help stimulate economic recovery and business franchise opportunities in the sector.

In response, many in logistics work - 80% of those surveyed - are strengthening their relationships with suppliers to ensure they are protected from future economic fluctuations. The prevailing sentiment may have hidden benefits for the logistics consultancy sector however; many firms are reportedly looking to embark on cost-cutting measures to improve efficiency.

Bibby UK's researchers note that this will likely be an effective means of satisfying the coming seasonal flurry of demand, though it warns that certain groups and in particular, importers, would be well served to review their finances ahead of the busy festive period.

Edward Rimmer, UK chief executive of Bibby Financial Services, says that it is "hardly surprising that the light of the tunnel, in terms of economic recovery, seems so far away to many in the sector" but says "it is imperative that businesses both large and small are prepared to make investments where needed and ensure their finances are in place to enable them to take advantage of opportunities for growth."

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