SPOTLIGHT 

Logistics magazines

In the Brexit debate, the issue of logistics – getting stuff from A to B to EU – has never been far away. Of course, there are magazines to make sense of it all, as Alan Geere discovers.

By Alan Geere

Logistics magazines
Photograph: Frank McKenna on Unsplash

Freight & Logistics

What’s it about: ‘Leading UK logistics’ – tagline on cover.

Vital statistics: December 2018 issue: 44 pages of 297mm x 210mm. Quality gloss paper, heavyweight cover, stitched. £45 annual subscription for non-FTA members (£3.75 per issue). ABC (Jan-Dec 2017) of 9,519 all from print. Published monthly by the Freight Transport Association in Tunbridge Wells.

Cover: Half-page action picture of a container dock with large coverline. Impressive (aka very big) masthead which takes up a quarter of the page, three overhead x-refs.

Content: Page 3 contents and ‘viewpoint’ from the FTA chief executive with smiling pic. Same man on page five, this time smiling outside 10 Downing Street after a ‘positive’ meeting about you know what. More Brexit news, other news and FTA news up to page 17. A neat ‘60-second interview’ with a mover and shaker before an eight-page pull-out on compliance advice. Ask the Mac (Member Advice Centre) Q&A and a conference report before reviews, events and campaigns bring the book to a breathless close.

Digital: Has its own page on the main FTA website where members can view previous issues. The FTA twitter feed – @newsfromfta – has 14k followers, 2.5k likes on Facebook and about the same on YouTube.

What they say: “Having listened to what we’ve been told, we have changed the title and the content of the magazine, as well as its ‘look and feel’.” – Former ‘Freight’ Editor Matt Harrington explaining to readers where ‘& Logistics’ came from.

Verdict: Likeable editorial content is enhanced by quality advertising from the likes of Mercedes and the Dept for Transport. A simple design makes it easy for busy working people to dip into and there’s enough quality information to make it a keeper on the office bookshelf.

Logistics & Transport Focus

What’s it about: ‘The Institute for all logistics and transport professionals’ – description of the publisher’s organisation on Twitter.

Vital statistics: January 2019 issue: 76 pages of 297mm x 210mm. Matt paper, card cover, perfect bound. £15 per issue or free to members. Combined ABC of 12,183 (Jan-Dec 2017), all from print. Published monthly by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) in Corby, Northants.

Cover: Stylised graphic, featuring one Trump D., with large coverlines. Five smaller coverlines and two very small pictures as a promo for ‘CILT at 100’. All on a white background with red masthead, that leaves out the ‘Logistics & Transport’ bit of the name.

Content: A page devoted to the chief executive’s wise words followed by a generous colour-coded contents spread. Bite-sized news, some refreshingly hard-hitting letters and ‘policy watch’ before an innovative interview with a man who’s been dead for 80 years, compiled from a variety of sources. Rattles along with a mix of features and Institute-focused material all designed very capably to a high standard.

Digital: Promotes the Institute’s general website where there is a page for the mag with a link to a members-only digital edition. Links to the CILT Twitter feed (9.7k followers), Facebook (6.7k likes) plus LinkedIn and YouTube. Click through to a well-populated jobs board and a promo to download the app.

What they say: “A cross between ‘It’s a Knockout’ and ‘Krypton Factor’ The Big Logistics and Transport Diversity Challenge consists of a series of fun team challenges, set to demonstrate the importance of diversity within the logistics and transport sectors” – making the most of household TV names to promote their fundraiser.

Verdict: A grown-up, sophisticated publication that would not look out of place on the newsstand. Intelligently written and thoughtfully designed, it projects its parent organisation as professional and purposeful.

Logistics Business

What’s it about: ‘No 1 for Intralogistics, Automation, Transport and Warehouse Management, Robotics, Distribution, Pallets, Packaging and more” – all-encompassing coverline.

Vital statistics: November 2018 issue: 84 pages of 297mm x 210mm. Quality gloss paper, card cover, perfect bound. Distributes 8,500 print copies according to media pack. Published quarterly by Logistics Business Publishing Ltd in Huntingdon.

Cover: A complicated full-bleed picture of the interior of a warehouse with the coverlines outlined above and the masthead. Yes, that’s it. Oh, and some details on the spine printed

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the page. Quite the printing achievement.

Content: Editor in chief’s foreword followed by clear page-by-page contents complete with small illustrations. A well-penned piece about the logistics behind the Volvo Ocean Race yachting event and other supplier contributions plus plenty of original material from the busy editor in chief. Readable one-page features mostly on left-hand pages with ads on the right.

Digital: Presentable website with plenty of updated content – both editorial and advertising – and a prompt to subscribe to both print and digital. Newsy Twitter feed with 2,500 followers and a link to a YouTube channel that “doesn't have any content”. Digital back copies to browse.

What they say: “Full-cut briefs are still much more popular with women than bikini briefs or thongs, while men are twice as likely to buy boxer briefs compared to other styles” – no detail spared in a feature headlined Matching Set about a ‘supply chain planning software supplier’.

Verdict: Plenty of full-page ads (at £3,500 a time at ratecard prices) from a variety of international suppliers demonstrate that this stylish publication knows its market and hits it full-on. Neatly designed and illustrated, all the content is well-presented in easily digested form.

Roadway

What’s it about: ‘The voice of road haulage’ – tagline under masthead.

Vital statistics: December 2018 issue: 56 pages of 297mm x 224mm. Gloss paper, heavyweight cover, stitched. £3.50 cover price. ‘Read in print by the executive decision-makers at over 6,500 UK road haulage and logistics companies.’ Published monthly by the Road Haulage Association in Weybridge.

Cover: Full bleed picture of a restored DAF 3300 ATi (big old truck) with its own dominant coverline. Six other well-crafted x-refs and more come-ons running along the foot of the page.

Content: Comprehensive contents on page 3 followed by ‘Welcome’ from the editor and no less than 10 ‘industry news’ pages. ‘Agenda’ has timely pieces on the Severn Crossing and no-deal Brexit delivered before a good wodge of RHA news, legal briefings, a feature on fuel management and a new gas-powered Iveco truck on test. Another timely feature, on winter preparation, brings up the back end with the cover story on that DAF.

Digital: Shares a website with its parent organisation, the Road Haulage Association, so there’s plenty going on that doesn’t directly belong to the magazine although Roadway does have its own page. Links to @RHANews on Twitter (16.2k followers) and Facebook (18.5k likes) plus a Wordpress blog that has lain unloved for two-and-a-half years.

What they say: “Be able to ask difficult questions to those in positions of authority” – one of 14 key skills expected of candidates for the role of ‘Roadway Online Editor’.

Verdict: Those ‘executive decision-makers’ are not going to be disappointed with this topical mix of news and features. With its straightforward design, good use of pictures – of people as well as trucks – this is a good example of how a members’ mag need not be just an organisational mouthpiece and can hold its own as a viable publishing exercise.

SHD Logistics

What’s it about: ‘Promoting supply chain excellence’ – tagline on page 3 info panel.

Vital statistics: January 2019 issue: 60 pages of 297mm x 210mm. Gloss paper, card cover, perfect bound. £132 annual subscription (£11 per issue). Average circulation per issue of 11,479 according to media pack. Published monthly by Informa in London.

Cover: Big picture of the inside of a warehouse, which on closer inspection is an ad. Three small picture x-refs (one man, one woman, one graphic), masthead and furniture including website.

Content: Functional contents page followed by the editor’s comment and news then into ‘cover story’ which is a promo to go with the front-page ad. Analysis, opinion, training and operations trip along before the very well designed ‘Logistics 100’ list of top operators. A sizeable report, by the editor, about automation is followed by two Q&As and three pages of classified before the closing item, another Q&A.

Digital: Website opens up with an offer to ‘Subscribe to the SHD Logistics eNewsletter’ and also listen in to ‘The Logistics Podcast’. A busy, but not hectic, digital offer with plenty of news and unobtrusive advertising. Social media links all neatly lined up leading to Twitter (10.2k followers), LinkedIn and YouTube but no Facebook.

What they say: “Launched Repair & Refinish Review, the only UK trade title to focus exclusively on body repair professionals, from Smart Repairers to the largest bodyshops” – editor Kirsty Adams revealing her B2B publishing credentials on LinkedIn.

Verdict: A quick count-up shows around 16 pages of advertising giving a healthy 26 per cent of purely commercial content, a reflection of the quality editorial surrounding it. Plenty of names and faces alongside the buildings and machines make this an approachable offering that deserves its place in the Informa hall of fame alongside Lloyd’s List, the International Journal for Masculinity Studies and the Monaco Yacht Show.

Warehouse & Logistics News

What’s it about: ‘Britain’s only fortnightly magazine for the industry’ – tagline under masthead.

Vital statistics: January 1 2019 issue: 24 pages of 418mm x 295mm. Quality matt paper, self cover, stitched. Free printed edition is “personally addressed and posted to 7,518 recipients every two weeks” and digital “emailed to 43,196 warehousing and logistics professionals” according to the media pack. Published fortnightly by Grandflame in Kings Langley, Herts.

Cover: A traditional newspaper design, even if half of the space is given over to advertising. Main headline fits well, especially as it’s in two different sizes, and ties in with big picture and the only story on the page. Four well-crafted promos, all with smiling(ish) faces.

Content: Publishing editor’s chat on page 3 with some news and straightforward contents panel. Industry news up to page 5, followed by Warehouse IT, Fork truck news, Products, Packaging and a three-page classified section all wrapped around a four-page logistics supplement.

Digital: Very busy website has pop-ups galore but also plenty of content including links to digital editions of the magazine. Along with the news, features, supplements and events, there’s an innovative ‘video hub’ and a link to Twitter (17.7k followers), alone amongst the available social media.

What they say: “Have I Got News For You has been making fun of obscure publications for 25 years, and we know the panel and the viewers at home will have a good laugh at our expense, however we believe it’s important not to miss this opportunity to raise the industry’s profile as and when we can.” – publishing editor James Surridge making the most of an appearance as ‘guest publication’ with Ian Hislop and co.

Verdict: Utilises its tabloid newspaper format well with clear display, well-explained headlines and generous use of pictures. Will surprise many observers that it finds enough content – both editorial and advertising – to sustain 26 issues a year but seems to be making a good job of it.