A NORTH-EAST company whose products were held up by ministers as example of engineering excellence is moving into new overseas markets. 

Tees Components Ltd, of North Skelton, Saltburn, a machining and fabrication sub-contractor has gained industry recognition for the design and production of its Tees White Gill Thruster propulsion unit.

Tees Components was founded in 1963 as a machine and fabrication sub-contractor serving coalmines and steel foundries.

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Its propulsion units provide full, continuous thrust through 360 degrees which can move a vessel in any direction, independently of the ship’s speed, and can be used on all types of ocean going and coastal vessels, harbour craft and river boats.

The thrusters provide precise manoeuvrability and are already used on vessels worldwide.

Following export advice from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) the company has appointed an agent in Brazil to help tender for future contracts and has recently secured an order worth around £825,000 in South Korea for a pump jet thruster for a 5,000 ton ocean class science research vessel.

Keen to broaden its horizons further the engineer signed up to UKTI’s Passport to Export programme to develop its export strategy and commissioned an Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) report focusing on Brazil.

It then took part in a market visit to Brazil to meet potential clients and exhibited its products at a trade show in Rio.

Sharon Lane, general manager at Tees Components, said: “We joined the Passport to Export programme and, having identified Brazil and South Korea as two new markets to target, we received assistance with internationalising our media and marketing material through UKTI workshops.

“We have utilised UKTI funding to exhibit at Navalshore (Rio) and Kormarine (Seoul) for the last two years, and are now working closely with agent representation in both countries.  We also had the opportunity to take part in a trade mission to Rio de Janeiro, as one of a group of businesses selected by Petrobras to further develop their supplier base, and to host a return visit to the UK.

“In South Korea we have now been awarded the contract to supply a thruster to a prestigious high-technology research ship commissioned by the government’s oceanographic research institution. 

“We will continue to work with UKTI on our export growth plans; they are often able to provide opportunities which support our strategy, whether it is help with funding, OMIS reports, or simply providing the right contacts.”

Stephen Muir, one of UK Trade & Investment’s International Trade Advisers who has been working with the company, said: “The company has made positive strides over the past year with its export plans and as a result of the contacts in Brazil identified through OMIS and the company’s follow-up visits, it has now appointed an agent to represent the company there.

“The company has also reviewed its website to update and ‘internationalise’ it, which included translation in Portuguese and Korean and has also secured a great order from a customer in South Korea.

“We will be continuing to work with Tees Components Ltd over the next 12 months as it aims to consolidate and develop its presence in both Brazil and South Korea as well as looking at other new markets.

“UKTI is committed to helping companies succeed in the global race, this week we’ve hosted a series of events as part of our latest Export Week initiative and our Exporting is GREAT campaign aims to encourage companies to contact us to find out more about how we can help.

I hope Tees Components’ success will help inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”