Productivity Puzzle – the UK in Turmoil

Productivity Puzzle – the UK in Turmoil

In 1914, Ford offered its workers double the market average wage and shorter working days. As a result, this helped to minimise their employee turnover. Henry Ford said he “wanted to help his workers have a life, not just a living.”

There has been real growth for the UK economy. But, the countries productivity is still stuck at 2008 levels. While the most growth for productivity has been in the automotive sector. If productivity in the UK (as a whole) had grown in the same way as the car industry, the economy would be £500 Billion larger than today.

Source: BANK OF ENGLAND 2015

James Sproule, the Chief Economist and Director of policy at the Institute of Directors. In an interview with Toast TV said that everything about the car manufacturing industry has improved, “it’s a better made product, made by fewer people and made more efficiently.” John Neil, Chairman and CEO of Unipart Group commented in a similar interview.



“The things that the automotive sector has learnt to do to continuously optimised the use of resources and service delivery. That’s what it looks like on the surface but you have to get behind it and realise it’s a whole philosophy of thinking and working which is deployed in a synchronised way throughout the entire supply chain of the automotive industry.”

This sector has been a driving force behind the UK economic recovery. Due to this, Unipart have collaborated with Universities and are helping to influence and train the next generation of engineers. Graduates will have the skills industry needs, hence this is crucial as more collaboration between business and universities will provide new technology and a higher level of skills that are vital to raising productivity. Consequently, people currently working in the industry believe that if we don’t improve our technical ability we won’t be competitive, there for wont increase our productivity.

John Cridland who is the Director General at CBI said that “what has happened with automotive is they have focused very significantly on the market they are seeking to serve. The industry has then also begun to strengthen its supply chain.” One of the reasons why the car industry has become the poster child for productivity is because their key driver is out preforming the competition. The main aspect of this being productive due to efficient use of resources and eliminating waste. The sector is constantly looking at ways to improve their productivity, through manufacturing, collaborating with higher education, training and engaging their staff and adopting best practices across the board.

But why have other sectors been left behind?

Extracting the waste from the system and improving services is key. People do have to be open and willing to change, staff need to be motivated to become engaged. This is the same throughout the public sector. Peter Vermeulen the deputy vice chancellor at Middlesex University has been working with various sectors directly, learning from them and their expertise and gaining good practices to boost productivity. If we look at construction, 98% of megaprojects face cost overruns or delays, the average cost increase is 80% of the original value and the average slippage is 20 months behind schedule.

Source: companies’ public annual records: IHS Herold Global Projects Database, 19.11.2013


How does this then feed into the day to day?

Furthermore, its fundamental that everyone is engaged and everyone is thinking about how to make improvements. Problems need to be solved at the lowest level of an organisation. The Workplace Research Foundation found that 38% of highly engaged employees have above-average productivity. By 2030, Rainer Strack (a human resource specialist) predicts that the demand for labour and labour supply will have a 20% difference to what it currently is. That means that 8 million jobs will be there but with no one to do them – increase migrations, increase retirement age, more women working. He believes we will face a global work force crisis consisting of a labour shortage, skill mismatch and cultural challenges.

Tuscor’s Top Tips!

12 Amazing Shipping Container Buildings!

12 Amazing Shipping Container Buildings!

Its fascinating to see hundreds of developments using recycled shipping containers to create something new and innovative. From fantastic container homes, luxury pools and even nurseries, there seems to be no limit! Here we’ve selected a handful of our favourite shipping container buildings from around the world…

Caution Cinema – Scott Whitby

Scott Whitby studio has used over 1,000 foam pyramids inside a shipping container to turn it into a mobile Caution Cinema. The installation was designed to help Britain’s port workers stay engaged by continuing to learn behaviour practices that could one day save their lives.

“As well as blocking out all external light and sound for the cinema, the disorientating, winding route encourages visitors to become acutely aware of their surroundings.” Whitby explained. “Visitors are forced to take extra care and to proceed with caution – as promoted by the safety campaign. It is hoped that the memory of this multi-sensory experience and intervention will be embedded in the user’s memory for a long time to come.” To see this article in full follow the link below.

Scott Whitby: Caution Cinema

Vietnam Hostel – TAK Architects

Vietnam is fast becoming the new Thailand. As hundreds of tourists, backpackers and twenty-something’s pass through the country the hostel industry is booming. Enter TAK Architects, who created a beautiful, brightly coloured haven in Nha Trang. With aerial bridges connecting the shipping containers and huge communal hammock areas there’s no wonder the Ccasa Hostel is getting a lot of attention. The design is based on that of a home, with stacked bedrooms and large socialising areas. Click on the link below to have a closer look at this stunning industrial home from home.

Vietnam Hostel

Lookout Tower Tasmanian Vineyard – Cumulus

A lookout post over a vineyard in Tasmanian sounds idyllic. What makes this even better is that it’s been built by Cumulus studios, using recycled shipping containers. Cumulus designed this spaced, named ‘Devils Corner Lookout’ for the Brown Brothers winery. There are two structures and they provide a semi-sheltered space for wine and food tasting, while gazing out over the vast landscape. Check out this spectacular piece of architecture through the link here.

Lookout Tower

Housing for veterans

Housing for homeless veterans

This is one heart-warming story made even better because it’s using recycled shipping containers! American Family Housing are the organisation responsible for the development, providing studio sized homes for military Veterans, many of whom had been living on the streets. The potter’s lane housing complex offers the Veterans a safe place to live. The project is America’s first permanent housing for the homeless and we couldn’t be happier it was built with shipping containers! To see the full story follow our link.

Container Skyscraper

This concept for shipping container skyscrapers is the definition of innovative. CRG Architects have proposed a plan to replace slum housing with 2 giant skyscrapers, built of over 2,500 containers and should be able to house up to 5,000 people! Not only this but the towers will feature a colour scheme that is intended to represent the hottest and coldest parts of the building – based on the compass points to show the transition of temperature. For the full info on this project follow the link.

Shipping container skyscrapers

Floating student housing

Floating student housing

Bjarke Ingels’ firm, BIG has created low-cost housing for students in the centre of Copenhagen. We wouldn’t exactly say they are the normal student digs, with BIG using nine shipping containers stacked on a floating platform in Copenhagen Harbour. Urban Rigger, consists of 15 studio apartments over 2 levels, where the ends of each container overlapping to help protect the housing from possible rising sea levels. It also frames a shared garden area in the middle. Want to read more? Just follow the link to our very own featured article!

Discover more amazing shipping container buildings below!

Container City

This is two pieces of shipping container architecture in east London. It is principally a means of utilizing standard forty-foot equivalent unit shipping containers, at the end of their life, to produce flexible accommodation and offices at low cost.

Office containers

Hechingen Studio is a crystal-shaped shipping container office that uses multiple glazed end walls to funnel natural light into the interior. The floor-to-ceiling glass also frames views of the surrounding landscape.

Fawood Children’s Center

This incredible building is made from recycled containers and has been transformed into a child’s dream!

Container Globe Theatre

Angus Vail, a rock music business manager from New Zealand, wants to build a Shakespearean Globe Theatre in Detroit. But rather than a heavy timber and plaster structure, like the 16th century version, his vision is to build using shipping containers!

Shipping Container Art School

LOT-EK, has just won the New York AIA Chapter Honors Award for their APAP OpenSchool in Korea. The school which was inaugurated in the summer of 2010 is an art school featuring an open-air covered amphitheater, studios and exhibition space.

Container House

David Wade says building a shipping container house requires living outside the box as well as thinking outside the box! He started the project in November after he was inspired by a similar house in Maine, designed by architect Adam Kalkin.

Monton Cobras – PSN Tournament winners!

Monton Cobras – PSN Tournament winners!

The Monton Cobras are made up of 7 determined football fanatics, Callum, Lucas, Gracie, Addison, John, Travis, and Kody. Tuscor Lloyds are the proud sponsors of the Cobras training kits, keeping the team warm over the winter months.

On the 15th January 2017, the team took part in a very exciting tournament held at the local power league centre. 6 teams from across Salford came to play for the winning trophy but it was the Cobras who brought their team to the victory, cheering as they brought the trophy home.

The Cobras under 7’s formed last September by enthusiastic parents and two equally determined coaches Jason and Liam, who have taught the children resilience, form and the importance of working together.

Monton Cobras Tuscor Lloyds

It looks like there’s no stopping the cobras with the team moving through the league as well as the fantastic result at the weekend’s tournament.

We couldn’t be any prouder… keep up the good work Cobras we can’t wait to see what trophies you’ll be bringing home next season!  

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Chinese New Year 2017 Year of the Rooster

Chinese New Year 2017 Year of the Rooster

With the New Year just a few days away, we can’t help but speculate what 2017 will hold, as individuals and in business. Chinese New Year is one of the most important dates on the business calendar for any company exporting from China and this year will be no different.


2017 is the year of the Rooster and celebrations will commence on the 28th of January, ending two weeks later with the Lantern Festival.

As we’ve previously highlighted on our blog supply chain planning around this time can be somewhat of a headache with retailers planning months in advance. So this year we thought we’d take a more fun approach and delve into the history of the Chinese calendar and what the rooster may mean for 2017.

Within the Chinese calendar there are 12 cycles of Zodiac animals which represent their system for reckoning time. The system was originally built by observations of the orbit of Jupiter and this created the celestial circle.

12 cycles of Zodiac animals

2017: The year of the Rooster

The Rooster is normally represented as a metal element, and its energy is typically Yin (relaxed). However, as 2017 said to be the Fire Rooster, this means the energy expected in the year is Yang which is more upward flowing and energetic.

The Chinese have said they are expecting people to be politer and less stubborn, but that they will have the tendency to complicate things. Generally, they have predicted the year to be dominated by people gravitating towards progress, honour with maximum integrity, and with people learning to temper their passion. Many will also be pleased to hear, after a rocky 2016 (for most), the New Year is set to be full of positive events with very good news.

Many traditions are practised during the Chinese New Year celebrations, some local and others celebrated across the globe. The Chinese believe that as they enter a New Year they should start a new beginning. Cue cleaning houses, paying off debts, painting doors, buying new clothes, and even new haircuts in order to have a fresh start for the New Year. Homes throughout China are decorated with special banners, many of which are red and gold; the traditional representations of happiness and prosperity.

The dragon is a very popular symbol for the Chinese New Year. It is a symbol of strength and good luck. A Chinese New Year 2017 celebration would not be complete without a giant dragon parading down the streets. The dragon costume is always very colourful and can be up to 100ft long.

The Chinese use fantastical firework displays in the belief that the noise will scare away any evil spirits, allowing the New Year to begin without misfortunes – let’s hope they work!

Author Info

Rachel Finch

Rachel Finch

Design and Marketing Assistant

Rachel is a new addition to the family, she’s already been making waves on our social media platforms and learning more everyday about the complexities of our industry. Yoga obsessed – she should be flexible enough to do the job!
EU Referendum Infographic

EU Referendum Infographic

It is less than a month now before the EU Referendum. As a global freight forwarder based in the UK, we’ve decided to bring together just some of the key facts and figures to consider before you vote on 23rd June 2016.

Tuscor Lloyds previously reported on the potential impact for the UK shipping industry if we were to leave the European Union. The results from our online poll have proven how close the outcome may be. With over 170 participants, 51% voted to remain in the EU, 39% voted to leave and 10% are still undecided, showing just how crucial the undecided voter may be come 23rd June.

Take a look at our infographic below before you vote!


Brexit and the Shipping Industry Infographic


Our team of import and export agents are here to help with any enquiry you may have.

Please contact our team on +44 (0) 161 868 6000 or email us

EU Referendum: What Brexit could mean for the UK Shipping Industry

EU Referendum: What Brexit could mean for the UK Shipping Industry

The date has been set for one of the biggest decisions the UK voter will face in their lifetime. On 23rd June 2016 the British public will vote whether to leave or remain in the European Union. With this in mind we have explored just some of the implications ‘Brexit’ could mean for the UK shipping industry.


EU in Brief

The European Union originated after World War Two to help economic relations between the 28 member states and was founded on the belief that countries trading together are less likely to go to war with each other. In more recent years it has become known as the ‘Single Market’ with the free movement of people and trade between member states, under one set of directives.

The Single Market

Due to EU laws governing trade within the union, goods and services can be freely transported without customs barriers or tariffs, giving the UK access to a “Single Market”.

The EU consistently stands as the UK’s largest trading partner. In February 2016 total exports to the EU were £11.2 billion, accounting for around 46% of the UK’s total exports. Imports are a similar story, with the proportion of total imports from the EU for February 2016 at 55%.

One of the biggest concerns with a British Exit (Brexit) from the EU is the prospect of prolonged uncertainty. Exactly what laws will change, how will the UK govern aspects of trade and industry, will Brexit lead to isolation from European trade?

EU & Shipping

Many of the world’s biggest shipping companies are based in the EU as well as some of the world’s most important container ports including Hamburg, Antwerp and Rotterdam. Closer to home, the shipping industry contributes around £10 billion a year to the UK economy and employs over 240,000 people in a variety of services including ports, transport and insurance.

Law firm Ince & Co set out many of the legal implications Brexit could mean for the shipping industry. The firm commented on the potential increases to operational costs with complications in import/export processes and commercial paperwork.

“Exporting UK goods and services would become a more complex process than at present and, during the UK’s negotiations for its own individual trade treaties as a non-EU state, there would likely be uncertainty, which could be for a lengthy period.”- Ince & Co

It is not impossible for the UK to seek different agreements, such as becoming a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), to enable access to the single market. But this all depends on the type of exit scenario and the time-scale of such deals are blurry.

In 2015 the UK’s net contribution to the EU was estimated at £8.5 billion, which many pro Brexit have argued could be better spent on UK industries. Leaving the EU also provides more autonomous decision making on key trade agreements leaving the UK free to negotiate our own trade agreements with big players like China, India and the US.

Unchartered Waters?

As no country has ever left the EU it is difficult to say what exactly would happen if we left, and all hugely dependent on the Brexit deal the UK government can make with the 27 other member states.

It has been widely reported across the shipping industry that these are difficult times. Freight rates have experienced all-time lows, carriers have embarked on destructive rate wars and the slowdown in China has only heightened the situation. With this level of uncertainty in the industries future growth and sustainability, the questions over Brexit is no doubt another fear for major ship owners and carriers involved in the UK market.

How are you voting on 23rd June 2016?