The latest economic report from the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, which represents organisations in Huddersfield, shows positive signs of improvement for international trade activities in the region as Covid-19 travel restrictions are relaxed.

The report, created in conjunction with the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, and contributing to the wider British Chambers report, indicates that Yorkshire manufacturing firms are expecting a rise in orders as travel restrictions ease, with trade documentation requests also increasing at the start of the year.

However, challenges still remain. Haulage disruption and increasing costs are being cited by businesses as key issues, while international events, such as lockdowns in China and the conflict in Ukraine, are also having an impact on trading activities for Yorkshire firms.

Martin Hathaway, managing director of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The pressures that are currently facing businesses are strong but I am confident that our economy can weather the storm.

“Our firms here in the mid Yorkshire region have excelled despite the challenges, creating new opportunities for international growth in the UAE and Arab regions.

“We’re working closely with our team to ensure we have the most accurate picture of the situations on the ground, in order to campaign for the support that is so vitally needed.

“Despite the challenges, our firms remained confident during quarter one, which is a positive sign as net balances remained at pre-Covid levels throughout.

“The desire to invest and recruit is there; we just need to see greater support and options for those looking to level up their businesses.

“We hope to work more closely with local authorities and Government in the coming months to create a stronger, more inclusive workforce to seal Yorkshire’s future as the place to do business in the UK.”

Sir Roger Marsh OBE DL, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and NP11, added: “Alongside labour shortages, businesses are facing rising inflationary pressures last seen in the early 1990s.

“Energy and utility prices are reported as a major problem facing businesses, particularly those in energy-intensive manufacturing. Many commodity prices have recently increased due to the war in Ukraine, particularly those found in Ukraine and Russia, such as wheat and nickel.

“Delays at ports in China due to Covid lockdowns is adding to these economic headwinds, with data suggesting that congestion at two Chinese ports is at its highest level in five months.”

The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce connects, supports and represents businesses across the Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield regions.