We will be making sure politicians on all sides understand the opportunity for temperature-controlled logistics, writes Cold Chain Federation chief executive Shane Brennan.

After years of national government as Netflix docu-drama, the past few months have been a refreshing return to largely boring competent leadership. The Chancellor in particular exudes a reassuring geography teacher vibe when delivering both good and bad news. The PM and Foreign Secretary appear able to interact with foreign leaders in a constructive and consistent manner, and the Home Secretary… oh well. Three out of four.

However, the return of a more consistent and less dramatic style of leadership does not mean that there aren’t big questions about the economic stewardship of the UK post-pandemic and post-Brexit.

Many now believe that Keir Starmer’s Labour is a likely government-in-waiting, but we are all clearer on what they are not (Corbyn’s Labour) than what they are for. 

It’s a problem because the big challenges for the UK economy are obvious. Whether it be the legacy of the pandemic and the inflationary pressure it has engendered, the lack of clarity on the UK’s strategy for international trade in a world of increasingly hostile and protectionist blocs, especially for food, or how the government will match ambition with action when it comes to legally mandated net zero targets. 

The next 18 months will be about the general election that will probably come in either the spring or autumn of 2024. We must hope that among the mud slinging and culture war stuff there will also be debate and sharing of ideas on these big themes, all of which have big implications for the cold chain. 

The CCF will be doing all we can to make sure politicians on all sides understand the scale of the opportunity for temperature-controlled logistics and the economic sectors we serve. Our messages are:

  • Cold chain warehousing and transport is critical infrastructure and should be treated as such in areas from planning law to energy resilience and tax policy
  • Cold chain can unlock net zero across food, pharma and other key economic sectors. It needs recognition for its positive role, incentives to invest in new technologies and new ways of working
  • Cold chain is a gateway to the world for both UK-based producers and consumers of goods. We can provide solutions but need a clear, consistent trade policy and well-resourced border and customs infrastructure to work with
  • Cold chain delivers rewarding careers for people at all stages of experience. We must have access to the best opportunities to recruit, train and retain talent at all levels of our business    

We will be taking our messages to the Heart of Westminster on 16 May for our second Celebration of the Cold Chain Parliamentary reception. Places are all but booked up, but to find out more email.

Congratulations to our climate leaders 

It was a pleasure to be joined by so many of you at the first ever Cold Chain Climate Summit and Sustainability Awards. The event was a showcase of the best of what we do as cold storage and transport operators in the UK. It makes me proud to see so many people committed to making a difference in this area and I know we can deliver so much more together through events like this. Read more on pages 12-17.

Thank You, Tim

I am hugely grateful for the commitment our outgoing president Tim Moran has shown our industry in the past seven years as president. Above all I am grateful for the support and friendship he has shown me since I was given the chance to lead the Food Storage and Distribution Federation, now the Cold Chain Federation.

Tim is now the chief operating officer for Lineage Logistics in Europe and as well as finishing his term as president, he is also leaving the board after the AGM taking place

Please join us as he signs off and we welcome his successor.