18 January 2021
logistics trends for 2021
As 2020 begins to feel
like a distant memory, it seems more than fitting to look ahead to 2021. As it
will for almost every industry, 2020 will be remembered as an exceptionally
challenging time for the fuel logistics sector. But what is 2021 likely to
These are the trends
and events predicted to impact fuel logistics over the next twelve months.
The dawn of a post-COVID logistics
It’s impossible to
consider what could be on the horizon for fuel logistics without mentioning
COVID-19; the pandemic will continue to have a monumental effect on operations
well into 2021 and beyond, perhaps the first example of any event doing so on a
truly global scale. We took a look at the initial impact of COVID-19 on fuel logistics back in the summer, and it seems inevitable we will feel its
effects for many more months to come.
After a year of mixed
fortunes, the launch and rollout of a COVID vaccine will once again put the
spotlight on the UK land supply chain, with some hailing 2021 as the year of ‘cold chain logistics’. Subsequently, the onus will also be on fuel
distributors to keep the UK’s road network moving, while the expected reopening
of the air travel industry will hopefully reinvigorate the sector further.
What’s more, the
logistics industry itself seems to be adapting to the ‘new normal’, as revealed
in the Barclays-BDO Logistics Confidence Index. Although most logistics operations surveyed
indicated the current situation was proving difficult, nearly 60 per cent said
they would look to invest in technology to drive efficiency in a post-COVID
future, and almost half said they were hoping to expand their service offering.
The topic of
sustainability in fuel logistics has been steadily heating up over the last few
years, and this shows no sign of slowing in 2021. Following the introduction of
the UK’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London in 2020, similar zones are
planned for Bath and Birmingham for early 2021, with more in the pipeline for
major cities in Scotland.HGVs over a certain weight must pay to enter these
zones - £100 a day in London’s ULEZ – which is also due to be extended to create a single larger zone bounded by the
North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205) in October.
It’s all part of the
effort to become carbon neutral as a nation by 2050. In November 2020, the
government announced that the ban on combustion engines will now start from 2035, rather than 2040 as originally planned. The
push towards sustainable fuel logistics therefore looks set to intensify in
2021 and over subsequent years, with a continued exploration of alternative
fuels such as hydrogen, and/or electric fleets, as well as minimising empty
miles and optimising sustainable driving practices.
Having been somewhat
overshadowed by COVID this year, the Brexit transition period ended on 31st
December, beginning a new era for the UK from 1st January.
It’s difficult to
predict how exactly Brexit will impact ultimately impact the fuel logistics
sector, as the fine print in relation to key issues is yet to be determined. It
seems likely however, that any logistics operation that trades with Europe will
need to be as prepared as possible by taking action on measures including Economic Operators Registration for exporters, the extra customs declarations that may be necessary,
paying duties in full and changes to VAT arrangements.
There is useful
industry-focused Brexit advice and guidance onLogistics UK.
Take on 2021 with fuel logistics
optimisation behind you
Whatever next year
brings, it’s clear that the fuel logistics businesses that thrive will be those
who are agile and flexible in their operational approach.
2021 seems set to be
another challenging year, but technology and digitisation can help fuel
distributors maximise efficiencies and adapt to unexpected change.
To find out more about
Touchstar’s fuel logistics optimisation
solutions and how they
can help your business succeed in 2021 and beyond, please get in touch with us.