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With its origins in the chemicals and process sectors, Wilton International’s energy, utilities, infrastructure and available land now make it an ideal site for a wide range of businesses with large power requirements.
Perhaps the first thing a visitor to Wilton International notices is the sheer scale of the site. At 2,000 acres (809 hectares) it’s vast, and home to an array of large-scale industrial operations including green energy generation, chemicals manufacturing, biofuels production and plastics recycling.
Wilton International began as an integrated manufacturing site owned and operated by the chemicals giant ICI. Following that company’s business divestment programme in the 1990s and 2000s, the site’s energy and manufacturing assets were acquired by various international corporations. However, the Wilton International business model remains fundamentally the same: on-site power generation and shared industrial infrastructure – to provide a secure, cost-efficient location for energy-intensive businesses.
Resilient power, generated on site
Today, Wilton International’s power generation and utilities assets are owned and operated by Sembcorp Energy UK, part of the Singapore-based Sembcorp Industries group. The company operates four power generation units on the site, utilising three different fuel types – biomass, domestic waste and gas.
“Having multiple power plants and fuel types, with national grid back up, means we have the capacity to provide companies on site with the energy resilience they require,” says Scott Taylor of Wilton International’s inward investment team.
“That’s vital for businesses running large-scale, 24-7 operations”.
The site’s private wire electricity network can also mean reduced national grid charges and overall energy costs for businesses based here.
‘World-scale’ utilities capacities
The utilities provision at Wilton International is both wide-ranging and ‘world scale’ – a favourable consequence of the sites origins, and ongoing specialisations, in the chemicals and process sectors. Steam, natural gas and compressed air, as well as demineralised, raw and potable water, are supplied by Sembcorp, while BOC supplies industrial gases including nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and CO2. The site also benefits from a plentiful regional water supply and specialist effluent management services.
Wilton International’s energy, utilities and industrial feedstocks are delivered to site occupiers via 120km of established service corridors, and infrastructure including cables, pipelines, bridges, culverts and tunnels. For new businesses developing facilities on the site, that can mean big savings on service infrastructure that simply doesn’t have to be built.
‘Ready to go’ industrial development land
Of Wilton International’s 2000 acres (809 hectares), no less than 562 acres (227 hectares) of land are currently available for industrial development. The site’s diverse portfolio includes both brownfield (previously occupied) and greenfield plots, in sizes ranging from 2.5 up to 66 acres.
According to Sembcorp, fast, hassle-free site delivery is the crux of Wilton International’s land offer to businesses.
“The site’s ready to go for businesses with large power requirements,” says Matthew Scrimshaw, Sembcorp UK’s Commercial Director.
“All our plots have pre-consented planning for industrial uses. They’re also fully serviceable, with ‘plug and play’ energy, utilities and infrastructure. That means investing businesses can reduce project lead times and achieve significant cost savings”.
Integration with Teesside’s industrial and logistics cluster
With shared utilities, infrastructure and security, there’s no doubt that Wilton International is a highly integrated industrial site. But it only takes a cursory look at a local map to realise that this integration extends beyond the site’s perimeter, into the wider Teesside industrial and logistics complex.
Within a 2.5 mile (4km) radius of Wilton International, the River Tees provides businesses with access to a major deep sea port (Teesport), handling a range of cargo types, and both dry and liquid bulk terminals. These terminals are directly connected to Wilton International by road, rail and pipeline corridors, providing businesses on site with fast freight access to global markets.
And location within the Teesside cluster offers additional benefits for businesses investing at Wilton International. The area’s concentration of large-scale industry is supported by research and technology organisations including the Centre for Process Industries (CPI, a Catapult centre) and educational institutions that align their courses and qualifications with the needs of local industry. Perhaps above all, the cluster is characterised by a skilled industrial workforce that’s both large and specialised, in areas including chemicals manufacturing and scientific R&D.
Positioned at the heart of the UK’s industrial strategy
Wilton International’s capabilities – including power generation, utilities infrastructure and freight connectivity – developed to meet the demanding needs of the chemicals and process sectors, which continue to be central to the site’s success. Major occupiers include SABIC, Lotte, Huntsman, Biffa, Ensus and Nippon Gases, and Sembcorp Energy UK plans to attract more investments in these established sectors.
However, the Wilton International team are equally keen to emphasise the site’s suitability for investing businesses across a far wider range of industries.
“The UK’s Industrial Strategy highlights massive growth potential in sectors including advanced manufacturing, biotech and renewables technologies, and we’re also seeing rapid growth in areas like recycling and data centres,” says Sembcorp’s Scott Taylor.
“Businesses in all these sectors have difficulties finding sites with the planning permission, large power supplies, infrastructure and connectivity they need. But Wilton International’s got the lot.”
Sembcorp aims to establish Wilton International at the heart of the UK’s industrial strategy, as a home for the diverse energy-intensive industries of the future. It’s an ambitious vision, but also one that both Wilton International and Sembcorp are well-positioned to deliver.