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£7.5 billion in goods traded through Gatwick in 2017

Local businesses are 50% more likely to export than the UK average.

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UK’s only direct service to Chengdu – China’s fourth largest city – started at Gatwick last week. The majority of cargo goes in the hold of long haul passenger services like this. (Image: John Nguyen/PA Wire)

International goods to the value of £7.5 billion passed through Gatwick in 2017 in trade that supported 113,800 UK jobs – according to the most detailed analysis of its kind into the airport’s influence on trade and investment – published today by Oxford Economics. 

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Metals/metal parts (£2 billion) and vehicles/ vehicle parts (£1.7 billion) were the two biggest goods categories traded through the airport, followed by electronics (£773 million), machinery (£682 million) and pharmaceuticals (£588 million).

Over two thirds – or £5.3 billion (61000 tonnes) – of this airfreight was exported and £2.2 billion (35600 tonnes) was imported.  Gatwick’s total cargo tonnage is also up +20.4% this year, compared to last. 

Gatwick and the South East

The report also looked at businesses that trade internationally in the seven local authorities in the Gatwick Diamond region and found them to be more export-focussed – with the proportion of businesses in the region sending goods to international markets 50% greater than for the UK as a whole.

The seven local authorities in the Gatwick Diamond are Epsom and Ewell, Reigate and Banstead, Horsham, Tandridge, Crawley, Mole Valley and Mid Sussex.

With Brexit in mind – over eleven (11.3%) per cent of Gatwick Diamond businesses exported goods compared to the UK average (7.2%).

Local businesses are also well positioned for global trade – with 60% of the Diamond’s exports going to non-European markets – again more than national average (51%).

Gatwick’s 67-strong long haul network is singled out in the report as important for trade outside the EU as the vast majority of cargo passing through the airport goes in the belly of long haul passenger aircraft. Top non-EU destinations for the Surrey, East and West Sussex region exports outside the EU are USA (£2.5 billion), China (£450 million), Japan (£250 million) and Russia (£200 million).

The South East was also shown to be a leading exporter of specialist professional services (eg architects, auditors, engineers, lawyers), and information communication technology, insurance and transport services – accounting for a quarter (24%) of all UK exports in these sectors.

Steve Norris, Chair of the Gatwick Growth Board and former transport minister, said:

Gatwick is a nationally significant infrastructure asset and today’s report shines a light on the £7.2 billion contribution it makes to the UK economy in terms of trade and investment.

“Much of the region’s economic activity is centred around the airport, which is why there is a greater concentration of company headquarters clustered in the region around Gatwick than in London.  This constellation of high value industries attracts significant foreign investment and trade activity and the access the airport gives them to international markets is a key reason why they invest and locate in the region.”  

Rob Lewtas, Department of International Trade, said:

“Gatwick has always played an important role supporting trade, investment and jobs both in the national and local economy.  This report shows how Gatwick’s recent growth has increased the South East’s connectivity even further and is driving international business activity from the region to all parts of the globe.”

Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive, Gatwick Diamond Business, which represents businesses across the region, said:

“While the report rightly points out Gatwick’s important role supporting exports from the region, it also shows that much more can be done. Too many businesses and cargo companies send their goods past Gatwick and round the M25 to Heathrow. As the airport’s long-haul network grows, so too do welcome opportunities for local firms to use Gatwick as their local global gateway.”

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive, Coast to Capital, a business-led collaboration between the private, public and education sectors across the region, said:

“The Coast to Capital economy is intrinsically linked to the success of Gatwick Airport. This report confirms the important role of the airport as a global hub to connect businesses to international markets. As the airport continues to grow, so too does the area’s economy, giving confidence to businesses and consumers as we leave the EU.”

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Crawley Borough Council award grants to two local businesses

Two business start-ups have got a leg up through Crawley Borough Council’s Small Business Grants Scheme.

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The Company Connector Ltd and Haus of FLVR are the latest companies to benefit from a council grant, which awards small businesses with up £2,000.

Manor Royal-based business, The Company Connector Ltd, will support local businesses with finding new clients and opportunities as well as encouraging inward investment from overseas. The company has already supported a number of Crawley businesses on a consultancy basis and helped to generate new business.

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The council awarded The Company Connector Ltd with the maximum amount of £2,000, assisting the start-up and first year costs. The financial boost has helped to establish the brand, website and social media, along with the necessary furniture and computer equipment.

Jeremy Taylor, Managing Director of The Company Connector Ltd, said:

“I am delighted to have been awarded this grant, it will contribute towards the set up and immediate development plans of the business including our first mission to Austin, Texas.

“In addition, the grant will enable us to support local businesses reach overseas markets as well as encouraging inward investment from other business centres. I applaud the council for recognising it costs a lot to establish a business that creates new jobs; this assistance is well received”

Haus of FLVR, a company that produces high quality alcohol infused frozen goods, received £2,000 from the Small Business Grant Scheme. The businesses main aims are to create an exciting, affordable and aesthetically pleasing product that brings a fresh and fashionable approach to ice lollies and canapés.

Samara Gidden, Director of Haus of FLVR, said:

“We are thrilled to receive funding to help produce a creative packaging solution that is luxurious and eco-friendly – both prerequisites will work in cohesion.

“We look forward to developing our packaging further and drive our business forward.”

Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development, Councillor Peter Smith, said: “I’m pleased that we can offer two start-up businesses a £2,000 grant.

“It’s important to support businesses in the initial stages; it helps them to get off the ground and positively contributes towards the town’s economic climate.”

The grants scheme is for small businesses with less than 50 employees who operate in the Crawley area.

All Small Business Support Grants projects must be match-funded at least 50 per cent by the small business. Apprenticeship grants up to £1,500 are also available and don’t need to be match-funded.

For more information about business grants and funding visit www.crawley.gov.uk/business

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