Posted by

Mike Spicer, Senior Policy Adviser

10 May 2012

One such challenge is overcoming transport barriers. Transport connections play a key role in international trade. They support supply chains and allow businesses to move goods to market. But they also promote global social = connections, collaboration between companies and market research activities.

According to our latest survey, businesses across the UK perceive both the cost and quality of transport connections to be barriers to export. Here are some key stats from our report Exporting is Good for Britain and Transport Connections Support Trade, which was released today (and available for download below):

-          1 in 5 UK businesses believe the quality of international transport connections is a barrier to export and over 1 in 3 in Scotland

-          49 per cent of companies actively considering exporting believe the cost of international transport connections is a barrier to export

-          Over 1 in 4 UK businesses believe the quality of local (i.e. domestic) transport connections is a barrier to export

The issues of cost and quality are connected: time is money, and goods held up in supply chains because of slow or unreliable connections requires businesses to hold more stock, which in turn hits their bottom line.  Services companies looking to conduct business face-to-face overseas are hit with higher costs if the international connections to their target markets are poor. Nearly half of non-exporters actively considering international trade see the cost of international connections from the UK as a barrier to export. Scotland stands out for registering the greatest transport-related concerns.

Concern about transport barriers is highest among potential exporters. This underscores the urgency of improving the quality and lowering the cost of Britain’s transport system - through fiscal measures and incentives to encourage more efficient use of existing capacity; eliminating ‘double taxation’ of air transport; removing blockages to much-needed investment by introducing new mechanisms like a national infrastructure bank; and ensuring the UK’s much-publicised new National Infrastructure Plan is actually implemented.