SKIPTON-based infrastructure consultancy is expanding its overseas sales to Asia after securing its first commercial partner in Japan.

Gaist advises local authorities and governments around the world on how to manage their highway networks more cost effectively over the short and long term.

It is now partnering with Japanese engineering firm, Shimizu, to offer its advanced highway audit, inspection and consultancy services to local authorities in the country.

Steve Birdsall, managing director of Gaist, said: “Highways and roads are the most important piece of infrastructure in countries across the world, and are vital to economic growth.

“We’ve had some exciting contracts here in the UK, including supporting £220 million of network investment in Greater Manchester region, but our business appeal is global.”

Mr Birdsall added: “ DIT has played an important role in our exporting journey, particularly as we’ve entered new markets where there are language barriers to consider.

“Asian markets present a real growth opportunity for us but, with DIT’s support, we’re also looking to secure new contracts in Africa and Australasia. If we can do it, others can too.”

Mark Robson, Head of Region for Yorkshire and Humber at DIT, said: “Expanding its services overseas clearly presents a significant opportunity for growth for Gaist. We’re proud to be able to help the business overcome the barriers required to enter this new market and provide the support needed to export successfully.

“We have a team of experts on hand to help firms of all sizes overcome the challenges of exporting, helping with everything from logistics to tax. If you’re thinking about whether your business could benefit from exporting, get in touch with our team today.”

This news comes as International Trade Secretary Liz Truss visits Tokyo today where she will discuss with the Japanese government how to establish a new economic partnership as soon as possible.

The UK and Japan have already committed to seeking an economic partnership which is just as ambitious, high standard and mutually beneficial as the existing EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The UK expects a new partnership would go even further in areas of shared interest.

Ms Truss will meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi; Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Isshu Sugawara, and Minister for Economic Revitalisation Yasutoshi Nishimura.

Companies looking for support should call 0300 365 1000 or email They can also visit, which has information on live export opportunities and includes general information on exporting and events.