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Wilton International and Teesside provide a perfect example of industrial clustering - businesses profiting through co-location and working together to rise to a challenge.
The value-adding benefits of business clustering are well-documented and apply across a broad range of sectors. Locating within hotbeds of excellence can enable companies to innovate, boost productivity and grow.
In well-known examples of clusters such as the City of London, or the high-tech Cambridge Cluster, the emphasis is on a geographical concentration of sector knowledge and expertise (primarily intellectual capital), as well as supply chains and business networks. Knowhow is at the heart of industrial clusters too, and in the case of process industry – chemical manufacturing, for example – shared access to physical infrastructure is also a key driver of co-location, delivering significant value for businesses.
Sembcorp’s 2,000 acre multi-occupancy industrial site at Wilton International in Teesside, provides a perfect example. The companies located there share access to the UK’s largest private-wire electricity grid and four power generation units using multiple fuel types – gas, biomass, and energy from waste. This provides advantages in areas including energy costs, resilience, and sustainability.
The benefits of co-location go much further. The site’s other established infrastructure includes 120km of pipelines and service corridors, supplying the utilities, industrial gases and feedstocks required by large-scale industrial operations, as well as transporting their final products. Once again, access to shared infrastructure reduces costs and risk for individual businesses. This, however, is only to consider the companies already established at Wilton International. For energy-intensive businesses seeking the ideal location for new investments, the site’s established services combined with available development plots, and the added advantage of potential Freeport tax incentives, create a compelling proposition.
In the process industry sector, the Teesside Cluster is a well-known identity, highlighting the fact that Wilton International is part of a wider, highly developed industrial group. Our interactive map of the cluster reveals the range and diversity of Teesside’s industrial assets. Pipelines (controlled by Sembcorp) transport feedstocks and products between Wilton International and liquid bulk terminals on the River Tees. Within a 2.5 mile (4km) radius, businesses can access Teesport (a major deep-sea port), Redcar Bulk Terminal (for dry bulk imports and exports), and research or knowledge assets including the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), NEPIC (the North East Process Industry Cluster), and the Materials Processing Institute. The wider Teesside conurbation is home to a wealth of organisations with strategic commitments to the cluster’s success. These include Further Education colleges, Teesside University, local councils and the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA). Together they support a unique concentration of industrial businesses, each with its own local network and supply chain relationships.
It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that the Teesside Cluster, which includes Sembcorp’s Wilton International site, is at the forefront of the UK’s response to a generational challenge - the decarbonisation of industry. Through cooperation and collaboration, the ambition is for Teesside to become the UK’s first decarbonised cluster, aiming to reach Net Zero by 2040 – ahead of the Paris Agreement’s 2050 deadline. Together, NEPIC, bp and TVCA have formed a consortium, with UK Government funding, to produce a Cluster Plan for the Tees Valley, detailing how the region’s industry will contribute to achieving Net Zero. Key initiatives include the East Coast Cluster carbon capture, usage and storage project, which will capture carbon from facilities across Teesside, as well as the Humber, and pipe it to the huge Endurance aquifer under the North Sea.
The Teesside Cluster’s Net Zero ambitions are supported by leading-edge R&D from regional providers including Teesside University. Centres of Excellence focused on Net Zero technologies include the university’s new, industry-led, £13.5 million Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre (NZIIC) and the Decarbonisation & Hydrogen Innovation Centre (IDHIC). Closer to Wilton International, Redcar and Cleveland College’s Clean Energy Education Hub will also help to equip the next generation with the knowledge and skills needed for the net zero energy transition. Sembcorp, along with others such as bp, have given theirsupport to help develop the Hub and create materials and educational courses about renewable energy sources.
There’s no doubt that the Teesside Cluster is a hotbed of industrial excellence – a place where concentrations of intellectual and physical capital deliver productivity and profitability for the businesses there, as well as a vision for a Net Zero future.
Contact Sembcorp’s Commercial team at Wilton International to find out more about opportunities at the site.
T: (+44) 01642 212 200