The inextricable link between E-Commerce growth and logistics demand
Arguably, the saving grace of deep lockdown came in the form of the availability and efficiency of online shopping. The movement favouring e-commerce, although catalysed by the circumstance surrounding the pandemic, has been steadily gaining traction for years. There are currently 45.36 million e-commerce users in the UK, with an additional 4.06 million users expected to be shopping online by 2021. In 2020 e-commerce sales will account for an astounding 27.5% of total retail sales and approach one-third by 2024.
In theory, logistics management is defined as the part of the supply chain process that plans, implements, and controls the efficient flow and storage of goods and services. This extends to include any related information from the initial manufacturing process to the point of purchase and then deliverance to the customer as per the expected timeline. Traditional logistical issues such as a lack of suitable storage capacity, or a temporary restriction on travel will likely be amplified by an e-commerce venture. The world has certainly experienced this conundrum in the past year as the closing of non-essential businesses placed significant infrastructural pressure on the efficacy of online shopping. Whilst e-commerce has been steadily increasing regardless, it is now embraced in a way which has vastly extended the marketplace. New concerns for companies have arisen as they must now manage their output demand with their ability to deliver products to customers.
This new-found emphasis on e-commerce has certainly placed the spotlight on one particular UK town: Doncaster. It’s affirmed status as a significant economic feeder and key player of the UK’s Northern Powerhouse, alongside its locational advantages, have certainly proved this theory of inextricability between a growing demand for online shopping and the logistic requirements to deliver, quite literally. Doncaster’s world-class reputation for its expertise in rail, engineering, aviation and advanced manufacturing presents a unique vantage point for industrial growth and development.
Annual investment into Doncaster currently generates approximately £90m and is estimated to exceed this in coming years due to the exponential growth of this market. It’s accessibility and connectivity nationally continue to attract companies and increase industrial growth in the area, creating an ever-increasing demand for a logistical hub. As e-commerce permanently changes the face of the retail sector, we are seeing an urgent need for commercial and industrial logistic units to facilitate the overwhelming output from online shopping.
In a strategic bid to further improve the area’s logistics capability, Doncaster has created its own inland port, iPort. The 337-acre industrial distribution park, by Junction 3 of the M18, is set to expand by an additional 6 million square foot after successfully securing planning permission. In addition to the 500 jobs already created from this move, it is projected that the completion of the iPort will create another 4,500 when fully operational. Furthermore, the iPort Rail Doncaster has received two esteemed awards and acclamation in recognition of its importance in the e-commerce market as more and more businesses are turning to rail freight distribution for its cost efficiency and sustainability advantages.
When discussing e-commerce, we must acknowledge the company which is globally recognised as the run-away market leader, Amazon. In 2010 the world’s leading entrepreneur, Jeff Bezos, recognised the significance of Doncaster as the UK ́s key logistical hub. Since then, Amazon have invested circa £500m in three fulfilment centres making Doncaster the UK’s largest town, one of only two locations globally, outside of the United States, where Amazon have more than two fulfilment centres in any one town or city. The region is only set to gain more popularity as we move into the contemporary era of e-commerce. The sheer size of Yorkshire, it’s ever-increasing market share and economic resilience consolidate the region as the centre of commercial logistics.
This is only set to gain popularity as we move into the contemporary era of e-commerce. The sheer size of Yorkshire, its ever-increasing market share and economic resilience prime the region to achieve its potential as the centre of commercial logistics.