It’s a matter of balance – UK exporting opportunities
Although most people know that the UK regularly imports more goods than it exports, it’s perhaps not so well appreciated that the resulting imbalance has a direct and very useful effect on export freight costs – something which can be very helpful to would be exporters.
Because imports outweight exports, there is, on balance, a much lower demand for export freight services than for import deliveries. In other words, there is much more space on trucks, ships and aircraft leaving the UK than there is available export cargo to fill them. This shortfall has a dynamic effect and freight prices reduce to very competitive levels as freight companies seek to win business in an effort to fill the empty space. However, at current levels of trade, there is evidently never enough cargo to match the capacity.
The effect on price is very appreciable. For example, a full lorry load from Antwerp in Belgium to Birmingham in the UK might typically cost as much as £1100 (due to excessive demand for transport to the UK). The same vehicle, from Birmingham to Antwerp, might cost less than £350 (due to very poor demand for transport from the UK to Belgium). And the same principle applies to a greater or lesser extent for nearly all of the UK’s export markets.
So, potential exporters should be aware that they may have an immediate comparative advantage over many of their foreign competitors in terms of transport costs. A very good reason to explore any export possibilities from the UK and at least one advantage offered by our overseas trade imbalance.
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