The boss of a Shropshire company which has moved more than £12 million worth of goods around the globe in the last year says economic growth will come from targeting new and emerging markets in 2013.
International trade expert Nicole Howarth believes that while export levels to established economies both in and outside the EU will remain virtually static, companies which will see turnover increase are those opening up new markets for the first time.
Mrs Howarth, managing director of award-winning international shipping company Global Freight, said her own company had seen growth in 2012 thanks to customers both exporting to new countries and those importing a percentage of product to remain competitive.
The value of imports and exports handled by Global Freight in the last year topped £12 milliom, including a new £500,000 order of furniture coming into the UK via China and destinated for Azerbajan and a new contract with a Shropshire company to ship to Mongolia for the first time.
She said: “Exporters are more likely than non-exporters to anticipate turnover growth in the next 12 months and this pattern is most notable among SMEs, according to the latest Enterprise Survey report.
“When so much of Shropshire’s economic landscape is made up of SMEs, there is no doubt that interntional trade will be a focus for these companies. But I don’t think we will see a huge amount of movement in the value of British exports from established exporters to established economies, given the current global climate.
“Growth will come from small and medium-sized businesses spotting opportunities in niche markets overseas, and often either exporting for the first time or looking to the potential high growth economies in South America, Russia and Asia.”
The ICAEW UK Enterprise Survey Report 2012 said that 11 per cent of businesses which do not currently export are planning to do so in the next 12 months.
Mrs Howarth said: “We have seen signficiant growth of our own business in the last year, much of this has come from new contracts to ship goods into countries which the customer is trading with for the first time.
“What we have also seen is that customers who are importing a percentage of goods, particularly smallers manufacturers, are experiencing grwoth as they can keep some costs down and therefore remain competitive.
“There are 4.4million SMEs in the UK and they make up around 90 per cent of Shropshire’s business base. These are the companies which need to grow to achieve a rebalancing of the British economy and if the trend in 2012 we’ve seen at Global Freight continues, then the Government may well be succeeding in its promised aim of getting 100,000 more SMEs exporting by the end of the decade.”