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Chemicals and Process Industries



The process and chemical industries form the most extensive manufacturing sector of North East England. They are hugely dynamic and are expected to experience further sustained and rapid growth in the years ahead.

More than 1,400 companies, generating over £26 billion in annual sales, are involved directly or are in the sector’s supply chain within the North East. These employ around 190,000 people and the sector exports products worth around £12 billion a year.

 Many leading global names in the base chemical industry have bases in the North East, and 58% of the entire UK petrochemical industry is concentrated mainly in the Tees Valley area. The sub-sector employs more than 10,000 people. It has an extensive infrastructure of plants and storage facilities, and a sophisticated supply chain infrastructure.

Within the fine and speciality chemicals sub sector, more than 60 companies, with combined sales of over £2.8 billion a year, are involved in what is one of the North East’s most rapidly growing and vibrant industrial clusters.  They produce a wide range of fine and speciality chemicals, including raw materials for use in the production of agrichemicals, food flavourings, fragrances, soaps, pigments and photographic film.

The ambition is to build on this powerful industrial base to make the North East one of the most competitive and successful areas in the world for process manufacturing and technological development.

It is an ambition shared by all the universities, public sector agencies and businesses in the North East, who have formed extensive collaborative partnerships to support development.

Through the leadership of the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), based at the Wilton Centre in Tees Valley and backed strongly by One North East, cutting edge research with industrial partners is bringing exciting technologies to commercial development.

Further leadership is provided by the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC), also based at Wilton, which represents over 500 companies. It promotes collaborative development between businesses and helps identify opportunities to compete in the global market or build supply chain relationships.

The importance of the sector in the North East is underlined by the fact that Darlington was chosen as the location for the UK's National Skills Academy for Process Industries.

To discuss investing in this sector contact our Inward Investment Support Team

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