Why Yorkshire firms must use Humber ports to reach the world - James Newman

Home to the ports of Hull and Goole, international trade has long been of significant importance to the economy of the Hull and East Yorkshire region.

Library image of the Humber Bridge. Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce plays a major role in promoting inward investment.

These ports are part of ABP’s larger Humber ports complex – the busiest in the UK, which is responsible for 17 per cent of the UK’s trade as a whole.

Our region’s trading success is bolstered by strong and long-standing links to Europe, as well as being situated in a location ideally placed for access to the UK’s main transport networks, with an established base of businesses, which specialise in imports and exports activities.

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However, our traditional international trading landscape is going through somewhat of a transformation. Not only has Brexit seen the Government encourage businesses of all kinds to expand their trading horizons further than the EU and into new high-growth and emerging global markets, but Hull and Goole will soon be given Freeport status after the successful Humber region bid.

Freeport status has many advantages for businesses, including easy access to international markets and access to raw materials without tariffs. In addition, as part of the regional Freeport status, three new tax-free zones will be established, with two of these sites situated in East Hull and Goole.

As part of the Government’s campaign to encourage more businesses to export, the new Trade Act will make it easier for companies to export new products and services, such as in digital and technology sectors.

As the region’s Local Enterprise Partnership, the HEY LEP is keen to engage further with businesses across all sectors, as it develops an export strategy for the region.

The LEP aims to be an independent advocate and strategic convener for export activity not only in the HEY region but across all of the Yorkshire and the Midlands.

We shall be working with key partners and business support organisations across the region in order to increase international trade, with a strong focus on supporting earlier stage businesses and SMEs to plan for international growth.

The HEY Business Growth Hub also offers advice and support for both experienced exporters and businesses looking to take their first steps into the export market.

Whether businesses are looking to grow their existing markets, engage with emerging and high-growth markets, or are interested in investing in overseas operations and operating regional hubs, the Growth Hub can signpost organisations to the best places for support.

HEY LEP is also supporting the region’s businesses in all aspects of international trading through our HEY Export! Engagement campaign, producing video case studies with local businesses and organisations including Agencia, MRT (Marine Rescue Technologies) and the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce.

We are also ensuring exporting is at the forefront of the upcoming Humber Business Week with our HEY Go Global! Event encouraging more businesses, especially SMEs, who may have never considered exporting, by making them more aware of what support is on offer to help them take the next steps.

Yorkshire, as a whole, is fortunate to have the ports in the Hull and Goole with its size and scale, plus the skills, heritage, products and services all available on its doorstep. This capacity and technical experience can make such a difference to successful exporting in such competitive overseas markets.

So come on Yorkshire businesses! If you are exporting already, or are thinking about it, make sure you use your local ports on the Humber to do it. Yorkshire has these great assets, so use them.

By James Newman, Hull and East Yorkshire LEP Chair

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