The impact of freight and logistics is having a significant positive impact on the economy of the Midlands, with transport body Midlands Connect leading the way in researching how the demands of the transport sector are changing.
The Midlands is at the centre of the ‘Golden logistics triangle' that provides large numbers of jobs in the automotive industries, food production, and import and export businesses.
With many firms having warehouses in the region and many international companies based there, Midlands Connect is researching how the sector's infrastructure, digital and refuelling demands develop in the coming decades.
This week, Monday, 13 to Friday, 17 November, Midlands Connect Freight Week is being held and consists of a series of shared online activities that highlight some of the case studies undertaken during the research and their results.
Midlands Connect considers that through working with partners and businesses across the sector, it will be better able to understand and plan the provision of alternative fuels, and provide a strategic direction on multi-modal interchanges between road, rail, air, and ports.
An inaugural issue of a Midlands Connect Freight Routemap was published last year, and that was used as a starting point for the research, and led to the establishment of a Freight Forum for the Midlands. Next year a second issue of the Freight Routemap will be published that incorporates further modelling and analysis work that has been carried out.
Roads Minister, Richard Holden MP, said: “The Midlands is the beating heart of our brilliant freight and logistics sector, which is crucial for the national economy to thrive, and that's why it's great to see Midlands Connect working to understand how the industry will evolve in the coming years.
“We've recently announced £200 million to roll out up to 370 zero emission trucks, many of which will drive in the Midlands, as we continue to boost tech and innovation and attract the next generation of talent to freight through the Generation Logistics campaign.”
Maria Machancoses, CEO of Midlands Connect, said: “Through trade and investment, the Midlands contributes £90bn annually to the UK economy. In order to keep its global competitiveness, the demand for the movement of goods is ever-increasing including the need for reliable connections to international gateways.
“With this rising demand also comes key environmental challenges placing the freight industry at a cusp of a green technical revolution.