Transport and Distribution

Transport and Distribution Image

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. One of many careers in this area could be for you if you have good communication, organisation and problem solving skills.

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.

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:

What’s the job market like?

The transportation and storage industry employs over 1.5 million people in the UK.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic there has been a decrease in the number of air, rail, ferry and bus passengers. The most recent statistics, from 2020, reported that 7.1 million air passengers travelled from Scottish airports (a 76% decrease). Similarly there was a 65% decrease in bus travel with 127 million passenger journeys taking place. Most affected were rail services, which saw an 85% decrease during 2019-20. During 2020 4.1 million passengers and 1.7 million vehicles were carried on ferry routes in Scotland. 

In 2021, there were an estimated 21,970 UK nationals active at sea, compared to 23,880 the previous year. UK nationals accounted for 16% of the 103,590 seafarers active at sea working for companies within the membership of the UK Chamber of Shipping. Of these UK nationals, 82% were male and 47% were aged 40 to 61. There was a slight increase in the numbers of certified officers, while the numbers of cadet officers and uncertified officers all fell.

Facts and figures

  • Only 4% of UK certified officers active at sea are female.
  • The aviation sector employs around 230,000 workers directly.
  • The UK rail industry employs more than 63,000 full time staff.
  • 2020 saw a massive reduction in terminal and transit passengers. Edinburgh passengers totalled 3.5 million (76% less), followed by Glasgow with 1.9 million (78% less).
  • Around 95% of British imports and exports in goods are moved by sea. In 2020 over 49 thousand tonnes of freight were carried by air and 59 million tonnes were handled by Scottish ports.

Want to find out more?

If you are interested in careers with the Merchant Navy, have a look at the website for lots of useful information.



Talent in Logistics

Career Pathway

Transport and Distribution Career Pathway
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