Transport has never been more important to the success of retailers.
A robust, reliable and comprehensive transport system is undoubtedly fundamental to a prosperous economy and provides economic and social benefits such as access to markets, inward investment and job creation.
A poor transport system however, reduces opportunities and increases costs to businesses, employees and consumers. The UK's current transport infrastructure is running at full capacity and has been heavily impacted by years of tough economic conditions, a historical imbalance in investment between south and north and uncertainty about what form Brexit will take.
In a recent survey carried out by DWF, 86% of retailers stated that a high quality transportation network is essential to facilitate business growth yet many retail business leaders are of the view that transport infrastructure is currently costing them money; from cancelled trains to a freight not arriving on time, transport infrastructure has the potential to cause problems across the retail supply chain and ultimately, negatively impact profit.
The infrastructure issues experienced on a daily basis are driving costs up and revenues down for retailers at a time when the retail sector is already struggling with touch economic conditions.
Retailers listed geopolitical uncertainty (64%), demand outstripping supply and improvements (53%), lack of international collaboration (50%), and regulatory change (44%) as the greatest barriers to improved transportation. Meanwhile, a staggering 89% expressed concern that Brexit will negatively affect the transport industry, and therefore their business – more so than any other sector.
It is clear that the government must take retailers' concerns seriously and invest in transport infrastructure to safeguard this valuable sector and its jobs
So what does the future hold? Technology and digitisation are likely to have a major impact on transport infrastructure going forward; think drones and driverless vehicles. Transport technology developments have the potential to provide countless benefits to retailers such as costs reduction, process improvements, improved customer service, increased speed of movement of goods nationally and new business opportunities.
The effects of new technologies will undoubtedly change the way people and goods move over the coming decades.
This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.