It’s that time of year, when we reflect on the year gone by and what’s to come.
We know the challenges of 2020 continued into 2021 for many, and the logistics and supply chain industries were no different. Whether it was increased consumer demand, the impact of Brexit, materials shortages, or disruptions to the global shipping networks (looking at you Suez Canal), it was a year that tested everyone’s resilience. So, ahead looking to next year, what are the predictions for the logistics and supply chain world?
Perhaps not new for 2022, but since the recent COP26 summit in Glasgow, the difference we as individuals and businesses need to make to help our planets future has surely been reinforced. Being more eco-conscious and sustainable is inevitably a focus in 2022 and shapes a lot of the trends we will explore in this article.
As a business, Exporta is committed to achieving our ISO14001 accreditation every year, so customers can have confidence that as a supplier, we are practicing environmental care as part of our everyday working lives.
For you the customer, we have also introduced a range of initiatives to make meeting your own sustainability goals easier. 98% of all our pallets are made from recycled materials and can be recycled at end of use. We introduced an ‘Eco-Grading System’ to help you easily identify how eco-friendly your chosen product is. And alongside this, we also offer a recycle scheme and have pledged to ‘Plant a Tree’ for every new Business Plus account opened.
In line with sustainability goals, the demand for returnable packaging solutions will surely rise in 2022. Being reusable, and recyclable, makes returnable packaging an ideal solution for businesses looking to be more eco-conscious but also looking for a quality product.
As well as being a sustainable option, these products, such as our Plastic Pallets or Folding Crates, provide better security of goods, minimise damage in transit and provide you with long-term value. Our supplier partner, Plasgad, discusses the ‘Circular Economy’ in more detail, and why we all need to be thinking about the benefits of returnable packaging as a long term, sustainable solution.
According to Next Green Car, at the end of October 2021 there were more than 345,00 pure electric cars in the UK and a further 675,000 hybrids. The demand amongst consumers is only going to get bigger, and the pressure on businesses to find hybrid or electric solutions is rapidly growing.
Over the last year, online and ecommerce realted deliveries have already increased by 25%. This has seen more and more vehicles on the delivery networks to keep up with demand. But the pressure on businesses to minimise their emissions is growing, and the move to more environmentally friendly solutions is mounting.
The UK has already introduced a cull on the purchase of new diesel and petrol HGVs, so is a future of fully electric fleets on the horizon? It seems likely. While it may not be as straight forward a transition as consumer-based vehicles, there is no doubt that electric vehicles alongside the correct infrastructure to support it are a necessity in the future. Already the likes of FedEx have introduced e-cargo bikes in 3 major UK cities, and recently Reuters reported that DB Schenker have ordered 1.5k electric trucks for use between European terminals and cities. We can be confident that the future is electric, but how much pace we gather in 2022 remains to be seen.
When it comes to sustainability, we don’t normally associate the word plastic. However, you may be surprised by how much more environmentally friendly plastic is versus wood.
As we have already touched on, Plastic Pallets can be recycled, made from recycled materials, and offer a much better lifetime value than other materials. Plastic is also more hygienic and as such, bypasses the ISMP15 regulation that was introduced at the start of 2021 because of Brexit, which required all wooden pallets being used to ship goods out of the UK to Europe to be heat treaded. This caused a huge rise in demand for these pallets and saw shortages across the network. By using plastic not only do you eliminate the need for the ISPM15 consideration, it’s also less likely to be impacted by the materials shortage and price rises we saw relating to wooden products.
With all that being said, next year, some users may be concerned about the Plastic Packaging Tax that is coming into effect in April 2022. However, if the pallet are made from more than 30% recycled plastics, then the tax would not apply.
With the labour shortages seen across the sector, a rise in repetitive and chronic strains relating to the manual nature of the job alongside the boom in online buying habits, the need to introduce automation and robotics cannot be ignored. A recent Financial Times article looked at the rise in spend on warehouse machines and robots, and Interact Analysis forecast that by 2025 investment is likely to be in excess of $3billion.
The acceleration of automation within the sector will see the need for racking and shelving and pallet compatible goods rise, something Exporta has been ready to support with for some time. Robotics and Automation News explores 3 big predictions for 2022 in more detail, but by all accounts, the robots are coming, and are here to stay.
Reverse Vending, something that is already normal practice in other European countries, such as Norway, Finland and Germany, is slated to be introduced in Scotland next year. These scheme is essentially where consumers pay a surcharge for single use plastics bottles, and get it back once they return the empty via one of the Reverse Vending retailers.
Already being trialled in locations around Scotland, but due to go live in July 2022, the Deposit Return Scheme is sure to see business and public interest peak in 2022, with specific interest in how it works and the logistical requirements. Any retailer that sells drinks will have a legal requirement to accept returns for recycling, so we can be confident that we’ll see an increase in demand for products such as containers and bins to facilitate the storage and handling of the scheme.
The rest of the UK is set to follow with the scheme, so we are likely to see this as a talking point well into 2023.
So, there you have it, our top picks for what to look out for in 2022. This just scratches the surface of what we can expect to see. We’re excited to start a new year and are ready, as always, to help you move it, store it, and secure it. If you have any questions or need and solutions for 2022, you can speak to one of our team on 0800 294 4394.