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We sometimes lose sight of the importance of distribution, freight and logistics sector to the UK economy. Recent estimates suggest the sector employs up to 8% of the UK workforce (2.2 million people), with over 192,000 companies engaged in these activities. These businesses have a collective turnover of £770 billion (26% of UK economy) and a GVA of £96 billion (11%). By any measure distribution is clearly a major component of the UK economy.

Key West of England facts

  • 38,000 jobs
  • 1,500 business units
  • Distribution companies using Bristol Airport employ 2,800 people across 50 businesses
  • The Bristol Port Company has 500 employees and a supply chain network estimated at 7,500 jobs
  • Good road and rail connectivity at the gateway to the South West and South Wales

(Click on image to enlarge)

Devolution Infographics

Sector overview

The West of England is home to some major distribution companies and others for whom distribution is a major part of their business.

They include Bristol Airport, Bristol Port, Bristol Mail Centre, Accolade Wines, Culina Distribution, DH L, Hanson Aggregates and Concrete, Hovis, IOS Ltd, Nisbets, Palmer and Harvey McLane, TNT Express Service, Tulip Fresh Meats, Asda, Walon, Lidl, DSG, and DST Output.

The West of England Freight Partnership was created by the sector to bring together local authorities and freight businesses. A Freight Consolidation Scheme is in place serving Bristol and Bath whereby several small deliveries to the same location are grouped and transported together from a centre run by DHL.

This initiative resulted from joint planning and procurement across Councils and has many benefits including eased congestion, fewer carbon emissions, fewer deliveries, and recycling of excess packaging. It’s used by over 100 businesses across the two cities served by electric vehicles.

The sector has potential for growth, particularly in the designated Enterprise Areas that adjoin the road network. Bristol Airport and Bristol Port expansions, as well as planned improvements to motorway and rail networks give the West of England a unique advantage in delivering to key UK markets, saving money, time, and CO2.

Sector group information
For more details on this group, please contact David Coombes.


19 May 2014

11 March 2014

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