This industry is known as the ‘logistics’ industry – it manages the flow of goods and other resources, including mail and people, from one place to another.
If you like organising and planning, and want to work in a job that is necessary to the daily needs of customers and keeping business moving, then transport and distribution may be the right career for you.
The transport and storage industry is vital to the UK economy, running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days in the year.
What areas can I work in?
You can work in one of five areas.
Distribution handles goods in storage before they are sent out, while they are being moved and after they arrive.
Air transport includes jobs in the air but also on the ground.
Train companies run passenger and goods services all over the UK and through the Channel Tunnel to Europe.
Road transport carries passengers and goods.
Sea transport includes ferries, cruise liners and Merchant Navy vessels.
To see the routes to getting into each of these sectors, take a look at our Career Pathway.
What kind of companies can I work for?
There are a wide variety of companies to choose from including:
airline companies and airports
warehousing and distribution centres
the Merchant Navy
passenger cruise and ferry companies
train, bus and taxi firms
freight forwarding and logistics companies.
What’s the job market like?
The transportation and storage industry employs 1,799,000 people, of which 128,000 are in Scotland, accounting for 4.5% of the Scottish workforce.
In Scotland, over the last five years there has been an increase in air (26.2%), rail (13.3%) and ferry (6.2%) passenger numbers. For reference, Scotland's population increased by 2% over the same period.
The future is bright for Maritime. The middle class demographic in Asia is forecast to grow by 153% by 2030, adding 2 billion additional customers. This presents good opportunities for the UK as we are leaving the EU.
In 2019, there were an estimated 22,440 UK seafarers, 8% more than the previous year, mainly due to an increase in the number of ratings. The numbers of certified officers, cadet officers and uncertified officers all fell.
Facts and figures
The aviation sector employs around 220,000 workers directly.
Around 95% of British imports and exports in goods are moved by sea.
Only 3% of UK certified officers active at sea are female.
The UK rail industry employs more than 190,000 people.
Edinburgh is Scotland’s busiest airport with 14,737,495 terminal and transit passengers in 2019, followed by Glasgow (8,847,100) and Aberdeen (2,912,883).
Bus passenger journeys make up over two thirds of all public transport usage.
Want to find out more?
The People1st-run website, Careers that Move, provides information and case studies on working in the transport and travel industries.
Workforce jobs by industry section, Nomis Labour Market Profile (December 2019)
Scottish Transport Statistics No 38 2019 Edition, Transport Scotland
Seafarers in the UK Shipping Industry 2019, Department for Transport (December 2019)