Today the West & North Yorkshire Chamber releases the latest findings from its quarterly international trade report. Across the region firms reported limited growth with supply chain challenges cited as a major barrier to trade. Trade with the EU is also providing challenges with one in two manufacturers saying they were having trouble either importing or exporting.
Across the services sector, overall, troubles appear to be easing, however, the subsectors of retail & wholesale along with transport & distribution remain almost as challenged as their manufacturing counterparts, as they move their goods across borders.
The three standout issues cited by manufacturers were increasing costs with freight movement, disruption at UK borders and the introduction of customs duties or levies all of which are adding additional cost and uncertainty.
Increasing costs for haulage and shipping are by no means limited to EU freight movements, as respondents also pointed to the surging cost of shipping to and from other destinations, with one firm noting a single container from China had risen in cost from £2,100 in the previous year to £15,000.
Speaking about the results, Mark Goldstone, Head of Policy at the West & North Yorkshire Chamber said, “Supply side challenges are the stand out factor in our latest report, limiting growth in sales around the world as global economic demand surges.
“It is hoped that rising input costs and supply chain disruption will ease as global shipping starts to recover, but will challenge company cash flows in the interim period as balance sheets recover from the economic crisis. Concerns remain however, over the longer term impact of inflationary pressures with a third of firms expecting to pass these additional costs on to customers.
“Undoubtedly the additional bureaucracy and associated cost continues to impact trade with the EU for many firms across our region. The impacts of Covid too are still to play out as global shipping and the availability of cargo containers continues to present challenges and further costs. The government should act now to reintroduce SME Brexit Support Grants and use its export strategy, and the Spending Review, to provide stronger export finance. It should also work with the chamber network to kickstart overseas exports from SMEs across our region.”