The Logistics Of European Trade

Transporting goods to Europe

The EU is our biggest trading partner, and road freight transport plays a key role in transporting goods to and from the continent.

As well as our nearest neighbour, Europe is also our biggest trade partner, with 44% (or £250 million) of UK exports going to the continent last year. In order to export goods and services, companies need to have an effective freight transport and delivery system in place. And in the UK and Europe, the majority of deliveries are carried out by road, with the road freight transport sector ferrying over 46 million tonnes of goods each day in 2016.

Getting the logistics right

While European trade is important to both individual businesses and the wider economy, it takes a lot of careful planning and preparation to get right. In order to satisfy customer requirements, freight and haulage companies have to ensure that goods are delivered on time, to the right location, and in the right condition. For countries with well-established trade routes this is often fairly straightforward, but for emerging markets in Eastern Europe for example, more care sometimes needs to be taken to ensure things go to plan.

For example, for all trade deliveries it’s vital for companies to have access to accurate and effective tracking systems so that they can keep tabs on their vehicles and cargo throughout the delivery journey, and troubleshoot any problems that may arise.

In this, as in other areas, the use of technology can make a big difference to performance, and the freight and logistics sector is beginning to recognise and embrace the opportunities offered by smart tech and digital applications. From the automation of paper-based processes, through to the monitoring of vehicle health, and enhanced tracking and notification capabilities, digital technology has the potential to streamline services, helping to improve accuracy and further increase efficiency.
The advent of new technology, along with the availability of goods consolidation and groupage services, means that transporting goods across Europe is becoming easier and ever-more efficient, and many small businesses are benefiting from the lower costs this brings.

The Brexit effect?

Of course, with Brexit on the horizon, we can expect to see some significant changes to how we trade with and transport goods across Europe. One of the main concerns within the sector is that leaving the customs union and single market could lead to additional checks and processes at border crossings, which in turn could result in increased transport costs and a higher likelihood of delays. Other potential issues surround a potential shortage of workers (many of whom are currently from the EU), and changes to regulations

All of these factors would make it difficult for logistics company to meet the levels of service required by their customers throughout the supply chain, and could have a knock-on effect throughout the sector.  With Article 50 only recently being triggered, however, it’s far too early to predict with any accuracy what will happen, and the sector is doing its best to lobby for a fair deal.

What is certain is that Europe will remain a key trading partner for many UK businesses, and the logistics and haulage sector will continue to play a vital role in our economy.