First it was drivers, then HGV technicians; now the UK logistics sector is also suffering from a considerable digital skills gap, according to a new report.

It found that 63% of companies within the sector had a shortage of ‘digital talent’. Fewer than two in five logistics companies considered their employee skillset was well-placed for digital growth and tech initiatives failed at four out of every five businesses.

Experts have now warned of a digital transformation stalemate without sufficient investment.

The research, conducted by internet provider Neos Networks, surveyed business leaders and decision makers in UK logistics companies to assess how ready the industry was for wider digital transformation.

The issues identified by operators included outdated systems - reported by 37% of logistics companies - which was hindering their ability to adopt and integrate digital processes.

Over a third (35%) highlighted insufficient digital infrastructure as a significant barrier.

Neos said its findings underscored an urgent need for the sector to invest more to keep pace with evolving technological demands.

Steve Parker, director general of the British International Freight Association (BIFA), said:

“The need to develop a well-planned digital transformation strategy can be impeded by the unwillingness to commit sufficient human and financial resources to that development; as it can be seen as high cost in a sector with typically very low profit margins.

“There is a need for well-qualified staff with in-depth technical knowledge and that can be lacking as a career in logistics may not be as appealing to the experts as some other sectors.

“One of the biggest challenges faced by any company looking to undergo digital transformation is the natural resistance to change that arises within any organisation.

“Many companies have invested heavily in outdated legacy systems and technologies that can be difficult – and expensive – to replace,” he added.

David Bruce, chief revenue officer at Neos Networks, added: “A shortage in digital skills acts as a barrier to innovation and efficiency in the logistics sector, ultimately restricting growth in a digital-first world.

“Investing in digital education and infrastructure is imperative to create a culture of innovation, ensuring the UK at the forefront of global logistics.

“Collaboration between industry leaders, digital experts, and government is needed to overcome the digital divide and unlock a digital-first approach for the logistics sector.”