Business confidence is growing

Confidence among logistics operators in future business prospects has increased significantly in the past six months, according to the latest Logistics Confidence Index compiled for Barclays and Grant Thornton UK.

The six-monthly survey of 100 senior managers of UK logistics firms conducted by Analytiqa, found the industry in the first half of 2013 to be cautiously optimistic about business conditions, with the overall confidence index standing at 60.3 compared with 52.5 six months earlier.

Comparing current trading conditions with the previous six months, 42% said they were the same, 31% thought they were less favourable and 27% more favourable. These figures compare with 32% saying they were the same, 40% less favourable and 27% more favourable in H2 2012.

February's report, covering H2 2012, also found that a lack of innovation was thwarting operators' attempts to net improved rates.

"In the last three months there have been a range of positive economic indicators showing things are on the up," said Rob Riddleston, head of transport and logistics at Barclays. "Since 2010 the UK has been bumping along the bottom, but now consumer and corporate debt is lower so they have the confidence to spend more money."

Philip Bird, director of corporate finance at Grant Thornton UK, agreed. "It is all about confidence and after being so low in the economic cycle it only takes a small uplift to make people feel a lot better," he said. "But it is very embryonic at this stage and we are a long way from the 3% to 5% growth we saw before 2008."

  • See Motor Transport 23 September print edition for the full story.