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How the Coronavirus Pandemic has Diversified UK Business

coronavirus

How the Coronavirus Pandemic has Diversified UK Business

As the Coronavirus pandemic has altered our ways of living and working – potentially for good – it has sent shockwaves through areas of UK business previously thought untouchable.

The thriving food and hospitality sector has steadily grown over recent years but faces an uncertain future as social distancing becomes a new norm of everyday life.

Of course, some industries have enjoyed something of a boon during the lockdown as their products, services, and expertise have come to the fore, or been adapted to suit the needs of the population.

How have businesses altered their offering?

Many eateries have kept afloat by switching their sit-down service to take-out or delivery, while robotic delivery of food and drink in Milton Keynes could offer a glimpse into the future of the industry, long after Covid-19’s grip on our daily lives has subsided.

The airline industry has been similarly decimated as planes have been grounded but swapping passengers for cargo has allowed some to maintain business.

Land-based delivery services have thrived, especially those connected to online shopping, like our trips to the high street or retail centers have been curtailed by the lockdown.

This has not come without the need for a change to regular services, however, with health and safety now more paramount, businesses have needed to be agile in swiftly adapting sanitary and sterile methods of delivery especially when dealing with at-risk customers.

Can businesses help in the fight against Coronavirus?

Some of the biggest swings in business have seen entities completely change their line of work in a bid to help fight the virus.

Producing personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, gowns, and gloves, has become a priority for many textile companies.

In the bid to build more hospital equipment, Formula 1 teams used their engineering might take on the task. World champion outfit Mercedes produced a ventilator which was used in a trial by the NHS and made the plans freely available for other manufacturers to build their own versions.

As the need for clear public communication has risen, printing business instant print was marked as NHS supply chain critical, producing an adapted product range including posters, signage, floor stickers and more to be used in a host of healthcare settings.

Will UK businesses recover after Coronavirus?

This is a tricky question to answer, as to how our daily lives will look once the pandemic subsides remains a grey area.

As scientific exploration into the virus continues, the threat of a ‘second wave’ of illnesses sweeping the world is set to make the resumption of our previous ways of life something that is implemented slowly, if indeed some things we used to take for granted ever do return to our daily routines.

Work settings may change, infrastructure will likely have to be adapted to suit a more socially distant population. How crowds gathering in shops, restaurants, bars, concerts, sporting events and more will be managed is almost impossible to predict as simply containing the virus still remains the highest priority.

As some countries begin to tentatively emerge from lockdown and try to get to grips with a ‘new normal’, the world will look to the likes of Australia and New Zealand for cues, while China has also looked to restore many of the social liberties that were taken away when the virus began to spread in its Hubei province.

If your business has been impacted by the Coronavirus, perhaps some of the examples above can help guide you through the rocky times or inspire a change of direction that may bring greater success once the pandemic passes.

parcels

UK and Germany Ship the Most Parcels in Europe

Technology has allowed us to exchange information, images, and video more easily than ever before. Back when the internet was first taking off, many predicted that this would spell the end for traditional parcel delivery. But these predictions have been proven to be wrong: the global shipping industry is in ruder health than ever, thanks to the rise of online retailers, and of an increasingly interconnected global economy.

In Europe, two nations stand clearly ahead of the rest of the pack: the UK and Germany. Both countries shipped around 3.5 billion parcels in 2019, according to the Pitney Bowes Shipping Index. That was a 12.4% annual increase for the UK, where there are around fifty-three parcels shipping per capita each year, which is the second-highest number of any country in the world.

Both countries have extremely consolidating shipping industries, with a handful of major carriers accounting for a majority of parcels shipped. In the UK, customers can compare the various services on offer through comparison sites like Parcel2Go.

So where does that put the rest of Europe? France sits way behind, at just 1.3 billion parcels shipped per year, while Italy is way down at less than a billion. Norway and Sweden are down at 61 and 127 million respectively – which is far less than the major players, even after you account for their respective populations.

Where does the UK sit Globally?

All of this has to be judged, of course, against a global backdrop. Shipping has more than doubled over a five-year period going back from 2018 when eighty-seven billion parcels were shipped in a single year. That was a volume increase of 17% from the previous year’s total of seventy-four billion, and works out at around 2,760 parcels shipped every single second. Somewhat incredibly, this explosion in shipping has almost kept pace with the population growth; there were twelve parcels per person shipped in 2014, and twenty-three in 2018.

Three nations stand out as major players in the global shipping industry. These are China, the US and Japan, who collectively account for some 83% of global traffic. China, as you might expect, sits way ahead of the pack with an incredible 51 billion parcels shipped. The US comes in significantly behind, at 13 billion, and Japan just behind that at 9 billion. Japan accounts for the highest per-capita shipping frequency.

What’s Next?

This trend shows no sign of abating in the future, and is likely to only accelerate as new markets emerge. The report indicates that shipping will likely double again over the next six years, with global parcel-shipping reaching an incredible 200 billion parcels.

business

Where do People Travel for Business?

When it comes to global business, the right transportation is essential. Getting talent from one side of the globe to another matters as much as ever it has – and perhaps even more so. But which cities are the most attractive for modern business? This is a question whose answers have remained more or less the same over the last four or five years, despite the fact that global business flights have more than doubled.

New York

The Big Apple leads the pack when it comes to inbound business flight, and it has done since 2014. This is largely thanks to its status as a centre of global finance, but it’s also because New York is among the most business-friendly states in the US, with a range of tax incentives offered to startups. Buzzfeed and WebMD originated here. Whether you’re taking a private jet or a commercial airliner, New York remains the world’s premier destination for business travellers.

London

London has consistently run a close second, despite the uncertainty still lingering over Brexit. Among the biggest draws of the capital is the English language, which remains the second most widely-spoken language in the world (and probably claims the top spot when we count only the customers of international airports). London contains around 15 businesses per hundred residents; the figure for the rest of the UK is around 10.

Paris

Paris is something of a fast-climber, experiencing around twenty-per cent growth over the two-year spell from 2016-2018. It’s easy to see why a business might locate here; Paris has an enormous amount of culture and history to offer, and thus it’s easy to persuade would-be staff to settle here. While France might have something of a reputation for overbearing bureaucracy (the word, is, after all, derived from a French one), the business environment is competitive enough to tempt many international businesses and skilled employees looking to sample life on the continent.

Shanghai

With China having established itself as a global power, it’s probably no surprise that its busiest airport is so attractive to international business customers. While the city isn’t quite as attractive to western travellers as the other entries to this list, it’s a location that no globalised business can afford to neglect – and this is reflected in its rapid rise as a centre of international air traffic. 

Among the more interesting trends in global air traffic generally has been an increased spread between different continents, with five of the seven listed in the top twenty destinations. There is perhaps no better example of this than that of Shanghai.

Toronto

Toronto outranks many US cities, including San Francisco, Houston and LA. As with New York, there is a range of incentives to businesses looking to grow here. The combined rate of corporate and income tax sits at around 26.5%, which is lower than the US average by around thirteen percentage points.

Singapore

Like Dubai, Singapore claims a great deal of air travel thanks to its popularity as a stop-off for long-haul flights between Europe and Australia. But there’s more to Singapore than that. The country is widely regarded as an ideal place from which to tap into Asia’s emerging markets. The location is strategically attractive, the workforce is competitive and the economic policy is explicitly favourable to business. It’s also emerging as serious competition for Hong Kong’s financial centres. For the world’s business travellers, there’s no shortage of reasons to pay this part of the world a visit.

How is the largest cargo aircraft in the world used?

Imagining the largest cargo aircraft in the world almost seems impossible. Even the regular iterations of these planes seem unimaginably huge, but it’s the Antonov An-225 that truly shatters expectations beyond comprehension. There’s only one that’s fully operational in the world, which should show how special it really is!

Moreover, it’s not only the worlds largest cargo aircraft, but it’s also the world’s largest aeroplane; full stop! With importance and capabilities as great as these, it must be used for some highly extraordinary tasks. But how is it used?

Well, let’s explore this line of enquiry further below.

Cargo transportation

As previously mentioned, the Antonov AN-225 is principally a cargo plane. This means it transports goods from point A to point B. However, because of its size and scale, the An-225 carries loads that other aeroplanes simply aren’t built to carry. After all, air travel is extremely sensitive to things like weight – but the AN-225 can carry an impressive 250 tons worth of weight.

Interestingly, charter company Chapman Freeborn recorded and coordinated the first ever use of the AN-225; a cargo transportation from Switzerland to Bahrain. Obviously, because of the special nature of this cargo plane, it does not enjoy as much varied or common usage as it’s perhaps more regular counterparts, who’re experiencing a greater boom in activity in recent years. It’s typically only brought out under special circumstances; i.e. a huge cargo to be transported! 

What cargo?

Of course, the plane doesn’t just ferry around any mundane and generic cargo that most planes do! No, initially, the AN-225 was built for a very specific and exciting purpose; to transport parts and components of the Buran space shuttle for the Soviet Union! Yes, it was built to facilitate the space race at a faster rate with its six powerful turbofan engines and 32 wheels to evenly distribute its weight.

Obviously, this level of use makes the plane not only important in usage, but historically significant too. People are endlessly researching its capabilities, and wondering about the possibilities of a second plane, which ultimately never finished its development. Consequently, the An-225 is certainly one of a kind – at least for now!

A tourist attraction

It’s far from being as cheap and tacky as it sounds, but because of the exceptional make and performance of the plane, something that’s been as magnificently crafted as the AN-225 is going to draw a few keen eyes. Visitors have traveled far and wide to catch a glimpse of the cargo plane in action, and most efforts end without a sighting due to the AN-225’s more exclusive nature in its usage.

Still, people do endeavor to witness the planes majesty for themselves and has historically been revered from when it was on display at the Paris Air Show in 1989, just a year from its first flight the year prior. There’s not quite a fledging industry built around it today due to its rare usage, but nevertheless, it is used as a tourist attraction in select periods of inactivity or pre-flight preparations. All it takes is one video to circulate the internet, and media buzz follows up soon after! Few planes (except for perhaps something like Air Force One) can influence that level of reaction, so doing so is undoubtedly an impressive feat!

Ultimately, the AN-225 has enjoyed a wide variety of media coverage and cargo transportation usage. It’s a cargo plane unlike any other and unrivalled in its capabilities, meaning it will stand the test of time for decades to come.