The UK’s logistics companies are reporting a surge in business due to Brexit and following the ecommerce boom during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Firms are increasingly seeking out specialist support to deal with new customs requirements and rules for trade with the EU, including completing declarations and storing goods in warehouses.
The FT reports that firms such as Clipper Logistics, Eddie Stobart, Wincanton and Xpediator are benefitting from post-Brexit uncertainty and could be at the centre of a burst of takeover activity.
Braintree-based Xpediator has hired 50 extra staff to handle increased demand in customs clearance and is looking to acquire rivals in the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Latvia. Clipper of Leeds is looking for takeover targets in France, Italy, Spain and the US.
A recent report by accountancy firm BDO showed that Q4 of 2020 was a particularly active period for supply chain takeovers, with 15 such deals completed.
BDO expects this trend to continue in 2021 as the UK works though the impact of new rules for trade with the EU.
The boom in ecommerce transactions is also leading to a greater need for customs support, with 87% of households making online purchases in 2020, according to Retail Week.
This has led to a 73% increase in warehouse space usage since the start of the pandemic, according to research by BNP Paribas.
Ben Wiley, BNP Paribas’ head of industrial and logistics agency, said: “Covid-19 has accelerated pre-existing consumer trends and speeded up demand for online shopping at an incredible pace, resulting in much greater need for warehouse space for retailers, supermarkets and third-party logistics providers”.