After a break of more than two years the UK freight industry’s only dedicated conference and exhibition – Multimodal 2021 – returned to Birmingham’s NEC centre and, as we were with client’s just down the road, we took the opportunity to have some meetings and take a look around.
While the various COVID lockdowns and restrictions played out, Mutimodal suffered repeated postponements, denying us (and the industry 🙂 its annual opportunity to meet and greet carriers, hauliers, ports, 3PL’s, trade associations and suppliers into the sector.
New for 2021 was the British International Freight Association’s (BIFA) village, designed to provide a marketplace for BIFA members to showcase the products and services they offer.
As BIFA freight service award winners, our clients Brunel, Metro and Noatum Logistics were entitled to free stands within the village but, due to the exceptional supply chain challenges their clients are currently facing, all three took the difficult decision to forego the opportunity to exhibit at Multimodal 2021.
While our clients couldn’t exhibit, we took the opportunity to pop in, take some pics and see Metro participating in one of the popular seminars.
This year’s seminar programme was developed by Logistics UK, to share insight and best practice and “explore how technology, innovation and people power are driving a new business landscape.”
For day 3 of Multimodal BIFA took the lead role in a seminar programme, supported by Metro’s Colin Smith (Training & Career Development Manager) that focused on attracting young talent to the sector; with an examination of apprenticeships that are available; the trade association’s recently launched schools engagement programme, as well as the work being done by BIFA’s Young Forwarder Network.
The most consistent theme is that supply chain has never been in the public eye, like now and it is critical that we raise the profile of the sector and it’s role within the wider economy and in particular to use this opportunity, to attract the next generation into the industry.
The HGV crisis came up consistently, but so too did sustainability and the need to look at every supply chain element, because we need to protect the future.
And in protecting the future, there were calls to ensure that EU suppliers and operators are fully prepared and ready for the 1st January 2022, as businesses will not be able to delay making import declarations and if you use ports that operate the pre-lodgement model or the Goods Vehicle Movement System (GVMS), full import declarations will be required before the UK Border.