Logistics spend on R&D hits all time high

Manchester, UK: Annual research and development spending by logistics providers has risen 9.1% in a year to an all-time high of GBP72m, according to ONS data released on Friday. R&D spending across transport and storage businesses in the UK (including postal and courier firms) rose GBP6m in 2020 having more than quadrupled in a decade, analysis by R&D tax relief specialist Catax shows. The total stood at GBP17m in 2010 and has risen 323.5% since then, having now risen for three years in succession.

It now makes up 0.3% of total UK R&D spending. The transportation and storage classification includes haulage, logistics and warehousing businesses as well as rail freight, air cargo and other transport services such as passenger air transport. The sector grew its R&D spending by significantly more than the UK overall.

Across all sectors, UK R&D spending grew 3.5% last year to a record GBP26.9bn. This was a rise of 67.9% since 2010.
The number of people employed by all UK businesses in R&D roles also reached a record high last year, climbing 6.8% to 283,000 full-time equivalents — an 83.8% rise since 2010. The government has set a target to bring UK R&D spending up to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

It is currently running at 1.7% of GDP according to the latest ONS figures. Mark Tighe, chief executive, Catax, said: “The logistics sector is overshadowed by bigger R&D spenders across other UK industries but the direction of travel looks good.  “It’s not typically an industry you think of straight away when it comes to large-scale innovation but it is happening.

A significant portion of this spending will be earning those companies responsible millions of pounds in R&D tax credits which can be reinvested straight back into R&D.”