Heathrow celebrates record year for exports with York company

27 November 2014

Industrial Textiles and Plastics Ltd (ITP) makes their mark around the world

A York based company has been selected by the UK’s hub airport, Heathrow to appear in a brand new installation which is celebrating the country’s top exports.

Industrial Textiles and Plastics Ltd is one of only 13 products on show within a cargo inspired exhibition at the airport’s T5 terminal. 

But even through Heathrow has seen a 5.3% increase in the volume of cargo in 2014, new research shows that people of Yorkshire have little knowledge of the scale and diversity of goods that are exported from the UK.

The new study found that 73 per cent of people in the area have no idea what the UK exports across the world. The UK is Europe’s second biggest exporter, second only to Germany, and the fifth biggest exporter worldwide.

90 per cent of Yorkshire residents did not know that 408 tonnes of diamonds are transported by air across the world, the highest value export at over £4.3 billion. A further 57 per cent didn’t know we export 17,350 tonnes of fresh fish.

Nearly three in four (73 per cent) were surprised to learn that that the UK transports 71 tonnes of clocks and watches to Switzerland, the most notorious watch makers, as well as exporting to further flung countries like Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates. Medicines and pharmaceuticals are also a high value British export with only 40 per cent realising it is a major export.

Marc van der Voort, Managing Director of ITP said: “The export division of our business has seen notable growth over recent years with particular interest in our scaffold sheeting and building membrane products from across the globe.  We use a range of transport options, including air freight out of Heathrow to Dubai and Thailand, which allows us to respond quickly and reliably to customer requirements.”

The UK’s hub airport also found out that a quarter of those questioned didn’t realise that exports could be transported by air, believing that all goods were transported by boat (21 per cent). Air freight accounts for 40 per cent (or around £400 billion) of total UK imports and exports, of which Heathrow ships 66% per cent.

The top ten most unknown exports were:

  1. Diamonds (90.1%)
  2. Binoculars (85.2%)
  3. Sugar (83.9%)
  4. False eyelashes (83.9%)
  5. Iron (83.9%)
  6. Television (82.7%)
  7. Oil (81.5%)
  8. Fuels (81.5%)
  9. Camera (80.3%)
  10. Pets (77.8%)

To educate those passing through the airport, Heathrow has installed an arresting, stop you in your tracks piece of art that is designed to show the public the huge range of items that pass through the building from whisky and salmon right the way through to car parts and even an Aston Martin.

Chamber International director, Tim Bailey, said: “It is great to see the expertise of Yorkshire company featured in such an exciting exhibition at Heathrow. There is a wide range of businesses, from start-ups to long-established companies throughout Yorkshire, exporting a wide range of goods all over the world.

"There is still considerable interest in British brands and our approach to service worldwide and it is fantastic to see ITPL being celebrated in this way.”

John Holland-Kaye, CEO for Heathrow said: “As the leading airport in the UK for air freight, we want to celebrate the significant role that exports play in growing the UK’s economy.

“26% of UK exports by value go through Heathrow and if we expand the airport we can keep Britain at the heart of a shifting global economy and drive export led growth.”

The top five items exported from Heathrow by value are:


£ exported

1. Jewellry and precious metals


2. Boilers and machinery


3. Medicines and pharmaceuticals


4. Electrical machinery and equipments


5. Photographic, cinematographic equipment


The installation in Heathrow Terminal 5 launches at the start UK Trade & Investment Export Week on Monday 10th November and will be in place until on Friday 23rd November.

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Chamber International - Heathrow Export Expo