Date: 21.10.2021

THE industry trade show returns – Multimodal 2021

After a break of more than two years the UK freight industry’s only dedicated conference and exhibition – Multimodal – has returned to Birmingham’s NEC centre and, as it is just down the road, we’ve popped in for a look around.

While the various COVID lockdowns and restrictions played out, Mutimodal suffered repeated postponements, denying the industry its annual opportunity to meet and greet.

Exhibitors are a mix of carriers, hauliers, ports, 3PL’s, trade associations and suppliers into the sector.

New for 2021 is the British International Freight Association’s (BIFA) village, designed to provide a marketplace for BIFA members to showcase the products and services they offer.

As a BIFA freight service award winner Metro were entitled to a free stand within the village but, due to the exceptional supply chain challenges we are currently facing, our priority is supporting our customers. Which meant we could not release senior team members for the three days that Multimodal runs, and have had to forego the opportunity to exhibit.

While we couldn’t spare colleagues for three full days, we have taken the opportunity to pop in for a quick look around, take these pics and see one of our team participating in one of the popular seminars.

This year’s seminar programme has been developed by Logistics UK, to share insight and best practice and “explore how technology, innovation and people power are driving a new business landscape.”

Day 3 of Multimodal  will see BIFA take the lead role in a seminar programme, supported by Metro’s Colin Smith (Training & Career Development Manager) that focuses on attracting young talent to the sector; with an examination of apprenticeships that are available; the trade association’s recently launched schools engagement programme, as well as the work being done by BIFA’s Young Forwarder Network.

Feedback on the seminar sessions is interesting, particularly the most popular ones, as they explore the way forward for businesses in the supply chain. 

The most consistent theme is that supply chain has never been in the public eye, like now and it is critical that we raise the profile of the sector and it’s role within the wider economy and in particular to use this opportunity, as Colin highlights, to attract the next generation into the industry.

The HGV crisis came up consistently, but so too did sustainability and the need to look at every supply chain element, because we need to protect the future.

And in protecting the future, there were calls to ensure that EU suppliers and operators are fully prepared and ready for the 1st January 2022, as businesses will not be able to delay making import declarations and if you use ports that operate the pre-lodgement model or the Goods Vehicle Movement System (GVMS), full import declarations will be required before the UK Border.