An East Lancashire firm has made history as one of its products became the first ever fully-digitalised export shipment.

A valve produced by Burnley-based manufacturer Fort Vale Engineering set off from Manchester Airport before landing in Singapore.

The success follows the UK government introducing world-leading legislation to make trading cheaper and easier for businesses.

It was the first time a shipment was processed entirely digitally, rather than via physical customs documents.

The news comes following the UK’s digital trade agreement with Singapore and the introduction of the UK’s Electronic Trade Documents Act.

The Act made the UK the first G7 country to place electronic trade documents on the same legal footing as paper ones.

Minister for international trade Nigel Huddleston said: "Digitalised trade will make it quicker, cheaper and easier for firms to do business around the world, saving them significant sums of money.

"In a world where everyone pays for things digitally, it’s high time we tear up the pointless paperwork and get with the 21st century.

"This is a landmark moment for the future of international trade and I am delighted the UK is leading the way in using technology to make things easier for our companies."

Fort Vale Engineering's global sales and marketing director Graham Blanchard said: "Fort Vale are extremely enthusiastic and excited by the prospect of successful digital trade transactions.

"As an organisation Fort Vale exports around 90 per cent of its products worldwide.

"A significant number of our key accounts are based in Singapore and as such, the opportunity to be part of this historic moment was something not to miss.

"Fort Vale see the benefits of security, efficiency, cost savings and reduced risk of delays as real positives not only for our organisation, but as a contribution to frictionless trade between the UK and Singapore as a whole."

Minister for technology and the digital economy Paul Scully said: "We have made history with the simple act of a valve produced in Burnley arriving in Singapore.

"Following the commencement of the Electronic Trade Documents Act, we’re showing the world that the UK isn’t merely a participant in the digital economy – we are at its forefront.

"This transformative step promises a future where international trade is swifter, more affordable, and inclusive for businesses of every size."