Confidence among chemical sector remains high, according to the latest survey undertaken by North East of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC).
The industry body surveyed its 300-plus membership, which is made up of manufacturers, producers, and supply chains in the North East, with 80% reporting high levels of optimism.
New domestic orders are at the heart of this positive outlook as well as the continued development of new products and services.
NEPIC chief executive, Iain Wright, said: “It is highly encouraging that the North East’s chemical-processing sector is reporting a positive business outlook, with recent investments in the region by some of our multinationals, such as Sabic and Fujifilm Diosynth Technologies, acting as a catalyst for this confidence.
“Firms in the region are clearly shrugging off the uncertainties surrounding Brexit and are gearing up to grow by winning new orders in the UK, as well as improving and refining their goods and services to customers.
“North East firms produce great goods and services that have demand all over the world. We would encourage firms, with our support, to look to overseas markets as a lucrative source of new markets for their products and future wealth creation.
The main challenges for the sector, however, include talent attraction and retention as well as increased competition from emerging markets.
Iain continued: “Highlighted challenges, notably firms’ concerns surrounding their ability to retain and recruit suitable talent for their growth plans reinforces the importance of close co-operation between industry and government and the roll-out of a proper Industry Strategy that benefits firms in the North East.”
The North East is home to the industries of chemicals, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, biofuels, renewable energy and low carbon materials.
There are more than 1,400 companies directly involved or in the supply chain of these industries, which generate £26 billion of annual sales.
NEPIC is a membership organisation working with the chemical-using industries in the North East of England.
It is privately-owned, led by industry, and works to support cluster members to become successful and sustainable organisations, in a collaborative business environment that helps them to grow.