A new report reveals growth in the UK's logistics 'Golden Triangle' in Northamptonshire and outlines plans for continued development of the area which is one of the UK's leading logistics and transport hubs.
The report, which included interviews with 200 UK logistics and transport businesses, was commissioned by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP) to capture the current scale of the sector in the area, often referred to as the UK logistic industry's 'Golden Triangle' due to the M1, M6 and M42 road network in and around the county. The area is also the location of a 33 mile stretch of the A14 which forms part of Euroroute E30, DIRFT (the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal) and Eurohub in Corby.
Key findings in the report include:
- The latest data shows a 10% growth in people working in the logistics and transport industry in the area. 27,000 (8 per cent) of the county's workforce is employed within this sector, double the national average and a growth of almost 10% on the previous year. Employment in the sector is expected to double (to 51,750 jobs) by 2021.
- An additional 12,500 people are employed in the logistics operations of companies in sectors such as food, retail and car parts. For example, Northamptonshire-based Weetabix, Coca-Cola, Panasonic and Asda have large logistics operations, though are not labelled as logistics companies.
- The report found that 1,400 logistics and transport businesses currently operate in the area and almost half of these (48%) are road freight transport companies. Stobart Group, Wincanton, Knights of Old, C Butt and Yusen Logistics are just some of the high profile names based in the county.
- Primary recommendations to develop the industry further in the region include improvements to key infrastructure, such as the A14 A-road which makes up part of Euroroute E30, a key link road that stretches from Cork, Ireland, to Omsk in Russia. The report identified that 'accelerating improvements' to this route are essential. The report also highlights the need for improvements to east-west rail links, as well as more secure lorry parking.
- Promoting careers in the sector is also outlined as a priority. It is felt that the many various careers available within the sector must be promoted within schools and colleges to create awareness of the opportunities available to the future workforce. In addition, 200 businesses were interviewed as part of the report, with many reporting that they would welcome more business support in the region, specifically business development, innovation and product development.
Tim Bagshaw, Head of Investment at NEP, commented: "It's encouraging to see a positive outlook for Northamptonshire at the centre of the UK's transport and logistics industry. However it's vital that improvements continue to be made to the already strong infrastructure in the area to encourage further economic growth. In order to bring these plans to fruition, we are working with potential investment sources, for example the Government's Growing Places Fund has allocated 5.9 million to Northamptonshire. The County Council and our European Office are also leading on the pursuit of funding through European and central government channels to meet these infrastructure requirements on key projects, such as the A14 upgrade."
"Alongside maintaining and developing infrastructure; skills, breadth of skills required and career opportunities (for young people in particular) come through as key issues for the industry. We are working with the University of Northampton, Further Education providers and the National Skills Academy for Logistics to begin to address these issues in the local economy."
As well as providing a formal snapshot of the current scale of the sector in the area, the purpose of the report was also to provide recommendations for improvements in order to maintain the county's logistics and transport economy. Earlier in the year, the Northamptonshire Logistics & Transport Steering Group met to discuss the issues being raised by the report. Once the findings of the research were complete, the report was presented last week to 40 business leaders from logistics and transport companies within the area at the John Lewis Partnership distribution centre in Northampton. These representatives were invited to give insight and feedback to the report, helping to define a strategy that will further cement the county as a key hub.
Frank Ring from GEM logistics commented after the launch of research and action plan, "With such a large ecosystem of companies in this area, it is important that we work together to continue to grow the economy and benefit from each other's successes. The report's insights into the growing economy in Northamptonshire are encouraging for us. We can see this growth curve taking place and are looking forward to working with NEP and fulfilling the opportunities identified in the report.'
About the report
Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership commissioned PACEC in January 2012 to carry out a research report on the contribution of the logistics and transport sector to the Northamptonshire economy, in order to help guide future investments. The research involved a desk study of relevant reports, an analysis of sector trends using the PACEC Local Economic Profiling System, the compilation of a directory of companies, a survey of a representative sample of 200 businesses and interviews with twenty partners as part of the wider economic development system. These comprised the Local Authorities, business support groups, the commercial property sector, industry bodies and the education / training sector.
About Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership
Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP) is the body set up to lead and provide direction for the county's future growth and prosperity. The purpose of the organisation is straightforward to develop the Northamptonshire economy, creating more and better quality private sector jobs and wealth for the benefit of the county's communities, businesses and visitors.
One of the priority areas for developing Northamptonshire's economy lies in the area's strengths in the logistics and transport sector. Northamptonshire is one of the most accessible areas of the country, being part of "The Golden Triangle" of the M1, M42 and M^ motorways. The major ports of Felixstowe, Southampton, Liverpool and Tilbury are all within 3 hours; its less than one hour to London by train and over 95% of the UKs population is within a four hour drive time. NEP has established a Logistics and Transport steering group to develop its work to support this key industry sector. Areas that the steering group will be looking at will include planning issues, skills gaps and the perception of the industry.