A SURVEY of logistics and warehousing operations, conducted by UK Warehousing Association (UKWA), has revealed that lack of available warehousing space in the face of COVID-19 restrictions is reaching a critical point, with potential for zero capacity on the horizon.
90% of respondents to a questionnaire identify and quantify the current impacts of COVID-19 on the industry, confirmed that they were totally full, suggesting that the market has just 10% pallet space availability.
According to UKWA CEO Peter Ward, this crisis has been driven by outbound flows from DCs of non-essential goods grinding to a halt in the face of retail and manufacturing closures, while inbound flows continue to arrive at UK ports.
‘With outbound flows severely reduced or stopped altogether as stores and factories are closed, inbound flows have become a mounting problem’ he says. ‘Inbound supply chains continue towards destination, arriving at ports, requiring receipt, handling, onward distribution and storage.’
As retailers’ own DCs become full, they are expected to turn to the third party sector to provide annexed warehousing and with current estimates of available storage capacity at around 1.5 million pallet spaces nationwide.
‘Although we expect numbers of fulfilled orders arriving in the UK to be dropping off by the end of May, the immediate search for additional space could become desperate,’ said Peter.
In response to the rising crisis, UKWA has set up COVID-19 Emergency Space Register on its website (UKWA.org.uk), where all available space identified will be collated and shared on a weekly basis with immediate effect.