UK cities face food and drink “logistics crisis”

London and other major UK cities face a looming food and drink “logistics crisis” unless operators and planning authorities take steps to address the problems facing the delivery sector, according to a new report commissioned by the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA).

‘Feeding London 2030’ warns that, if not addressed now, the issues raised could even lead to a shortage of essential food supplies on the shelves of grocery retailers and at other food outlets.

UKWA chief executive Peter Ward said: “What we have today is not sustainable. The last time bread disappeared from the shelves was during the tanker drivers’ strike [in 2000] and then we were not far from anarchy.”

London in particular is facing significant population growth, from its present 9 million to a predicted 11 million by 2050, putting increasing pressure on the logistics industry to deliver essential supplies.

“Things are becoming stretched across London’s food and drink supply chains and current logistics thinking is no longer fit for purpose,” warned Andrew Morgan, a director of research firm Global 78 and the report’s lead author.

“Supplying food and drink that is both safe and delivered on time to London’s retail and food service outlets at an appropriate cost will become increasingly difficult unless steps are taken to address the issues highlighted in the report. At the moment we are managing, but it is difficult to see how it can carry on – especially if we are to meet the mayor’s policies on congestion and air quality.”

  • ‘Feeding London 2030’ is available from UKWA price £790 for non-UKWA members and £395 for members.