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Suffolk logistics firm benefits from the rush of Brexit stockpiling

PUBLISHED: 17:40 19 January 2019

Century Logistics MD Stephen Basey-Fisher. Picture: Gregg Brown

Century Logistics MD Stephen Basey-Fisher. Picture: Gregg Brown

Archant

A major logistics company is seeing demand for warehousing space soar in the countdown to Brexit.

Century Logistics warehouse. Picture: Gregg BrownCentury Logistics warehouse. Picture: Gregg Brown

Century Logistics is a third party logistics provider for companies ranging from multinational giants to e commerce start ups, which is based in Bury Saint Edmunds.

Its managing director, Stephen Basey-Fisher, explains that his business is “dramatically expanding” at the moment by providing extra warehousing storage space- due in part to Brexit stockpiling.

“We are already seeing both large and small companies increasing their stock by 5% to 10% because of Brexit, which across the UK is an awful lot of extra space, and ultimately, we will benefit from it,” he says.

“In the last month, we have taken on 150,000 square foot of additional space - and 50,000 of that is in Suffolk. I have worked out that 75,000sq ft of that space is directly as a result of Brexit stockpiling.

A ship docked at Felixstowe Port/ Picture: Ed Taylor, r_e_d_r_o_c_k_e_tA ship docked at Felixstowe Port/ Picture: Ed Taylor, r_e_d_r_o_c_k_e_t

“One of our clients has 100 extra shipping containers coming into the country containing white goods, in preparation for Brexit.

“I can only guess that our clients’ customers will be stockpiling, and that they are stockpiling now.”

Google has seen a sharp rise in the number of people searching for the word ‘stockpiling’ in the UK, indicating that the issue is starting to play on people’s minds.

Mr Basey-Fisher explains that Brexit is causing more stock to be warehoused in the UK in the short term, “because of concern about hold ups in port”.

Brexit could prove to be good for his industry - and for Suffolk, in this respect - in the long term, as the warehousing capacity along the A14 rapidly expands.

Planning consent is now in place for more than six million square feet of warehousing on ten sites in Suffolk and Norfolk within 40 miles of Felixstowe, and 350,000 sq ft has already been completed.

The logistics industry currently employs one in every 11 people in the UK, and that’s likely to go up - not just because of Brexit, but also because of the UK’s booming online shopping industry.

“We will need more stock in the UK after Brexit, because the supply line will be extended,” explains Mr Basey-Fisher.

“Whatever happens with Brexit - whether it’s hard, soft, or no deal, we will need more stock in the UK.

“You only need a few more minutes delay at the ports to get backlogs.”

Century Logistics operates over seven sites, six of which are in East Anglia, and employs 150 people in all.

One of Suffolk’s companies currently stockpiling is the drain product maker Challs, based in Hadleigh. Its boss, Graham Burchell, said his business was stockpiling raw materials and looking at stockpiling its products in Ireland ahead of the March 29 EU exit date, in order to prevent chaos ensuing at the border. “A lot of businesses are stockpiling now which is also pushing prices up,” he said. “It’s not the storage area, it’s the value of the stock - we are probably holding another £0.25m worth of stock which we wouldn’t otherwise.”

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