Will the COVID-19 Situation Leave Warehousing Space in Short Supply?

The UK warehouse industry could soon be squeezed for room. The backlog of goods from abroad set to reach stores throughout the country are piling up as shops stay closed during the period of lockdown.

The UK Warehousing Association had launched an ‘emergency space register’ so that freight companies with warehouses can respond to the crisis to optimise the use of available space.  Off-dock options are also being investigated in order to house goods coming in from abroad that stores have no capacity for.

At present there is no evidence that storage space has run out at ports, but by utilising DIY outlets this could ease the pressure, ensuring that cargo can keep moving.

This should all mean relatively good news for warehouse facilities, as a full warehouse means operators are making plenty of cash. Aren’t they?  Apparently not; the vast majority of warehouses make their money from moving and managing stock so when warehouses become full, they just function as storage facilities alone.

The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the manufacturing and retail sectors has meant that warehousing is running at higher levels than ever before with little movement in distribution. Yet inbound supply (especially non-food merchandise) continues to arrive in UK ports.  And whilst nobody knows how long the current lockdown rules will last, or indeed, the long term impact from them, off-dock storage could soon be a real possibility.

What we do know is that the logistics and warehousing industries will be key in helping the economy recover when lockdown restrictions are lifted and life begins to return to normal, whatever ‘normal’ will be in the future.


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