Launch of UK Material Handling Association

The merger between British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Forklift Truck Association (FLTA) has created the UK Material Handling Association (UKMHA) to represent interest of all the diverse materials handling industry and to ensure it has a single, authoritative voice. Also included in the merger is the subsidiary co-owned by BITA and FLTA, Consolidated Fork Truck Services (CFTS), the accrediting body introduced to deliver the first national procedure for Thorough Examination.

Until now, BITA represented the interests of industrial truck manufacturers, while FLTA promoted the interests of dealers, owners and operators. Both associations will continue in their respective roles until the merger process is fully completed, but under the UKMHA brand. The chief executive of FLTA, Tim Waples, has been appointed chief executive of UKMHA.

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The UKMHA is a not-for-profit organisation with aim of improving standards in the industry. Their existing campaigns include National Forklift Safety Day, the Forklift Safety Convention and the Safety Drive. The merger will strengthen the offering of the combined organisations, enhancing the services delivered to members and all those who own and operate forklift trucks. The UKMHA’s mission statement is “Providing the entire material handling industry with a single voice and ensuring the highest standards of safety and service are maintained at all times”.

The UKMHA will initially act as an umbrella organisation with plans to merge BITA and FLTA in the near future. To ensure the material handling industry remains operationally effective during the coronavirus emergency, the UKMHA is making freely available a series of guidelines produced by BITA to help protect everyone working in the industry. It states that “It is important for the safety of everyone in the material handling industry that these recommendations are adhered to”.

The agenda for UKMHA will be the continued focus on improving standards of safety and service across the entire industry. Manufacturers will benefit from UKMHA’s increased scope, offering them far better access to and the opportunity to develop stronger relationships with their end-users and supporting dealers, according to an association statement.

The UKMHA said a quick recovery in the UK material handling industry from the economic upheaval suffered in 2020 due to COVID-19 was unlikely but was optimistic that vaccine programme and free trade agreements offer hope of recovery later in the year. However, any return to pre-pandemic levels of business is unlikely until 2023. In its latest UK Forklift Truck Market outlook, prepared for BITA by the Oxford Economics Consultancy projects 19% growth in 2021 and 6% growth in 2022.

Wallace School of Transport is a fully accredited RTITB company with over 50 years’ experience. You can be trained either at your own work site or at Wallace Centre in Park Royal. If you have any questions, call Wallace Forklift Training on 020 8453 3440, choose option 3 or click here to email us.

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