19.10.2021 | Industry matters

The man behind multimodal 2021

Event director Robert Jervis, shares his passion for logistics and his aspirations for this year’s event.

How did you get into the industry, and what keeps you in it?

I fell into it. I was working for News International selling advertising space on The Times – and hating daily deadlines. So, I joined a small publishing company that also ran shows about port equipment – and have been “hooked” ever since. The first event I worked on was TOC – which is still going strong today.

With the return of Multimodal this year, what are your hopes for the exhibition?

That everyone enjoys themselves and wants to come again next year – be they, visitors or exhibitors. It was always going to be a bit of a challenge getting back in the saddle – I’m sure our customers understand that – but if everyone leaves the NEC feeling that their time was well spent and that they enjoyed the “family get-together” again, that would be great.

Experiencing some of its most turbulent times, if you could wave a magic wand and fix three issues facing the industry, what would they be?

The best companies in our sector waved their wand some time ago. They are already reaping the benefits of having an engaged workforce. They are recruiting apprentices, graduates, veterans and the like – offering worthwhile and fulfilling careers.
They are also investing in technology and superior kit. In turn, they retain loyal and valued customers. Relationships that aren’t win/win aren’t relationships at all.
But what would I fix? Poor truck stops, rail freight ‘bottlenecks’, and every bit of the M1 near Luton.

What lessons do you think the sector has learnt having kept Britain moving throughout the pandemic?

I’m not sure the industry needed educating as much as our politicians and population. This is a key industry with a highly skilled and dedicated workforce. Its role during the pandemic was as important as the healthcare sector. Of course, it always was – but now people are much more aware of it.

Five years from now, will the future be bright for UK logistics?

Yes. People will always hope to eat, buy stuff, travel, shop and do DIY. Our business makes that happen.

Robert Jervis, Multimodal 2021