According to a new report from Barclays and Moore Stephens, optimism among logistics operators has fallen significantly in the first half of 2016, with levels measured at just 51.8 compared to 61.9 in the second half of 2015. This represents the fourth successive drop in the biannual UK Logistics Confidence Index survey, which was first introduced in 2012. As well as this, the calculation made in the first of this year is the lowest figure since the index began. On the positive side, almost 70 per cent of respondents said they expect their turnover to increase in the next year and the same number said they were confident enough to be planning investment in capital expenditure over the next six months. Another point to be taken from the index is the increasing pressure logistics operators are facing from customers eager to enjoy lower prices: pressure that is actually coming during a period of both rising competition and increases in costs. In order to try and combat this, logistics businesses are focusing more on value-added services and technology to try and both retain existing customers and attract new ones. Such is the importance of value-added services that it has been cited a number of times as a key driver of contract wins: almost a quarter (24 per cent) of respondents believed the trend important enough to highlight, a three-fold rise in figures in the first half of 2015. Value-added services include last mile delivery, returns management, pre-assembly, labelling, co-packing and even basic manufacturing: all services that potential clients could really benefit from. Technology is another major opportunity for the sector, and was cited by 16 per cent of respondents: again, this was double the number citing the opportunity last year. A number of potential service and efficiency benefits come with increased use of technology, including both the ability to track drivers digitally and to gain increased insight through data analytics. Rob Riddleston, head of transport and logistics at Barclays, said: 'Confidence in the UK logistics industry has taken a knock from price pressure and increasing competition. "Under such pressure, the high level of planned capital expenditure is welcome news and reflects the sector's pressing need for investment in technology. "It is also encouraging that the role of technology is recognised as a route to both control costs and improve service levels and investment in this area is a key trend for the sector.î