Logistics industry is not 'shifting dusty boxes around dirty warehouses', says boss of Northampton distribution centre

Hilary Chipping, deputy chief executive of SEMLEP, said ideas developed by companies involved in the Northamptonshire Logistics Forum could now be rolled out across the SEMLEP area
Hilary Chipping, deputy chief executive of SEMLEP, said ideas developed by companies involved in the Northamptonshire Logistics Forum could now be rolled out across the SEMLEP area
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The logistics industry needs to change the public perception its work to attract younger people, the head of one of Northampton's largest distribution centres has said.

Tony Bellott, general manager of John Lewis’ distribution centre in Northampton, said the public perception of the industry needs to change but the expansion potential of the South East Midlands represented a ‘golden opportunity for growth’.

Speaking at a logistics and supply chain summit, organised by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), he said: “By working together and hooking up with local institutions, there are fantastic development opportunities to increase what people have in their pockets at the end of the week.

“But we have an ageing workforce and that needs to change. We have to get young people inspired by a role in logistics and get them to see it as a career, not just a job where you shift dusty boxes around dirty warehouses all day.”

The event saw more than 100 business leaders from across the region gather at John Lewis’ Magna Park facility to hear from experts from Highways England and the Open University about plans for investment in local rail and road infrastructure to aid the sector’s growth and the importance of the supply chain.

In Northamptonshire alone, 45,000 people are employed in the logistics industry, making it one of the region’s key performing sectors.

The summit also gave delegates a behind-the-scenes tour of the £250million John Lewis depot at Magna Park, which store more than 235,000 products and can accommodate 9,198 double decker buses.