Logistics UK calls for support to help sector decarbonise

A new report from Logistics UK warns that more action is needed to help the sector decarbonise effectively.

The organisation’s Electric Vehicle Report 2023, released at the ITT HUb event yesterday (11 May 2023) – highlights that factors including a lack of fiscal support and an inadequate public charging network are having a significant impact on the confidence of operators to invest in electric vehicles (EVs). 

In 2022, EVs represented 0.9% of the UK’s van fleet, up from 0.3% in 2019. And while the majority of the businesses surveyed for the report – 62% – plan to have decarbonised their van fleets by 2030, significant barriers remain that prevent the uptake needed ahead of the deadlines. 

David Wells, Chief Executive of Logistics UK, comments: “The logistics sector is fully aware of its responsibilities to decarbonise and is keen to do so. However, with respondents reporting wide ranging costs to upgrade their energy supplies to depots – between £100,000 and over £1 million – a lack of meaningful scrappage schemes, acquisition costs on the rise and volatile energy prices, it is an uphill battle that cannot continue without increased support from government. Our industry operates on very narrow margins of around 1% and with significant inflationary pressures, increased wage bills and the rise in total road vehicle operating costs, logistics businesses need supportive fiscal measures to be able to upgrade their fleets and energy supplies without having to pass on increased costs to customers.”

With all respondents citing energy supply as their top priority, the business group is also calling for a fair and equitable approach to funding depot electricity connection.

Mr Wells added: “Logistics UK is calling for an EV charging and refuelling infrastructure roadmap to be prioritised. This must be designed in collaboration with operators, backed with clear guidance and incentives for local authorities. A significantly accelerated rollout of public charging infrastructure that is fully accessible to commercial vehicles, with clear milestones for minimum levels of suitable chargepoint provision across the country, must be an urgent priority for government if our industry is to meet its net zero priorities by 2050.”

The cost and availability of new electric vehicles is also a concern for the logistics sector, with long order deadlines and no viable scrappage schemes putting heavy cost burdens on businesses, particularly SMEs. 

Logistics UK’s Electric Vehicle Report is available at: www.logistics.org.uk/research-hub/reports/ev-report

Image courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK.

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