Many of you will have seen today’s article on the BBC news site about how online shopping trend is making warehousing hot property. Andy Grubb, International Forwarding’s sales director, explains the lead up to this situation and why the transport and 3PL industry’s warehouse footprint of 106 million sq ft is still not enough to meet demand…
Warehousing offers businesses a lifeline
IFL’s warehouses have never been busier. Despite almost doubling our warehousing capacity in 2019, adding another large storage facility in Birmingham in 2020 and taking on extra temporary space in 2021, we are often working near capacity.
Warehousing is hot property right now. For many UK businesses, having the facility to store their goods temporarily or longer term has been a lifeline – particularly those relying on imports and exports, who started overstocking in 2019/2020 to minimise Brexit (and later Covid-19) disruption.
Securing storage space isn’t easy, though – with many units filling up as fast as they empty out. Here’s why…
Why is warehousing in demand?
As the BBC report points out, online shopping is a major trend with pent-up demand being unleashed as the UK emerges from lockdown.
But the e-commerce trend is also being driven by workplace changes. Working from home is here to stay, outdoor living and working has become important due to Covid-19, and now there is also a staged return to the workplace fuelling the need for supplies.
According to a BBC survey, 43 of the UK’s 50 biggest employers have said they would embrace hybrid working, with staff able to work from home two to three days a week. The return to work means that photocopiers are being refilled, stationery cupboards restocked, and desk and office space adapted to suit the new Covid-safe rules.
Remote or hybrid workers, meanwhile, are ordering more food deliveries and home/garden supplies. We’ve seen high volumes of packaging and delivery boxes and office supplies going through our warehouses recently, for example.
Demand for storage to remain high
The road from supplier to customer looks set to remain bumpy through 2021 – and warehouse storage will be vital to managing that and mitigating transit delays.
The globally disrupted shipping environment from Covid-19, the rise in online shopping and the re-opening of physical stores post-lockdown is leading to unprecedented freight volumes for freight forwarders. Access to reliable storage and third-party logistics (3PL) will remain crucial for businesses to keep their goods moving and customers supplied in a timely manner.
Warehouse logistics in the West Midlands
At IFL we have been expanding our warehouse operations since 2019 in preparation for Brexit. In autumn 2020, we acquired a third large new facility in Birmingham to cope with ongoing high demand. This new 40,000 sq ft storage facility is located in Garrett’s Green, close to Birmingham city centre and the UK transport network. It is already busy but it gives us some extra leeway to help customers with their inbound or outbound pallet storage and onward distribution.
For importers and exporters, we continue to send freight daily to and from Europe, and globally. To facilitate this, our staff can also help with the extra customs clearance paperwork although this service is currently only available for goods shipped directly under our control.
Get a warehousing quote
If you need freight forwarding help or would like to book storage space in any of our secure facilities, please do get in touch and we’ll do our best to assist you.