"When in 1770, after a perilous two year journey around Cape Horn, a small ship became the first European vessel in history to drop anchor on the Australian continent its captain was, naturally, a Yorkshireman.
That Captain Cook hailed from the mightiest of Britain’s counties is now common knowledge. What is less widely known is the provenance of his ship. Specially built with a flat-bottomed hull to allow the safe navigation of unknown waters, the HMS Endeavour was built not in the shipyards of the Clyde or the Tyne but by Thomas Fishburn; Whitby’s most famous shipbuilder.
At its peak, Whitby was home to the nation’s third largest shipbuilding industry – surpassed only by Newcastle and London – and was the home of influential innovations such as the crow’s nest.
But while the workshops of the Whitby shipwrights may have long since fallen silent, the North’s maritime story is far from over. Despite the North of England making up just 20 per cent of the country’s population, its ports still punch well above their weight, accounting for a hefty 35 per cent of national shipping capacity. Indeed, the ports of Tyne and Tees have already attracted the UK’s most successful chemicals cluster as well as automotive giants like Nissan.
After Britain leaves the EU, the Government can create Free Ports across the North to propel our great ports to yet greater success.
Dating back some 2,500 years, the idea of a Free Port is a simple one; an area of dockland exempted from import tariffs and customs duties, with the intention of boosting trade.
In recent decades, Free Ports have become an increasingly popular tool for governments across the world, helping them support job creating manufacturers who might otherwise be tempted by cheaper labour overseas.
In the US for example, Free Ports like Boston and Seattle are designated as being legally outside American customs territory. That means businesses like Nissan can import components into the Free Port, manufacture, and then re-export cars without anything passing through US customs and incurring tariffs. Goods manufactured for the home market, meanwhile, benefit from streamlined red-tape and flexibility on import tariffs."
To read the full article, visit the Yorkshire Post website.