The U.K.’s largest delivery network, APC Overnight, this week announced a series of partnerships and the introduction of new services to bolster its position in the small- to medium-size entrepreneur (SME) services market. The courier announced partnerships with InPost, Whistl and Air Menzies International to improve APC Overnight’s click-and-collect, second-class mail and international delivery options. The company also launched APC direct, an online booking tool that allows customers to manage their shipments.
APC Overnight’s announcement comes just days before U.K. voters head to the polls to determine their country’s membership in the EU. Should the U.K. vote to leave, the country’s cargo ports and terminals face years of disruption resulting from trade agreements being reworked and currency volatility driving up costs, at a time when British industry is already struggling to adjust to globalization. According to The Economist, 44 percent of U.K. exports are bound for the EU, and 48 percent of foreign direct investment into the country comes from the EU.
Shipping contributes some US$14.2 billion annually to the U.K.’s economy and directly employs 240,000 people across multiple sectors. So, while the referendum is a politically contentious issue, the cargo business at large has a lot to lose from the increased tariffs and customs obstacles that are likely to accompany an “exit” vote.