Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Whatever Happened to Grandad's Old ICI Job?

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Whatever Happened to Grandad's Old ICI Job?

Article excerpt

Nepic Chief Executive Stan Higgins reflects on the changing face of the chemical industry WHY is it that everyone on Teesside and elsewhere in the UK thinks that the chemical industry is in decline? People locally often say My grandad used to work for 'The ICI' but that''s all gone now hasn''t it? It is so often proclaimed that the industry has gone. These perceptions are half wrong and half right.

The fact is that most of the assets that were operated by ICI locally are now operated by a multitude of international corporations like Sabic, Huntsman, Sembcorp, Ineos, GrowHow, Lucite, Dupont Tejin Films, Johnson Matthey Wilton International and Lotte to name but a few.

Yes, some have gone by the wayside like the Invista Nylon Plant and the Dow EO unit but the majority are still here and still working well.

Furthermore, as we have seen, there are several new investments that have been made that bring in new industry like the Ensus'' bioethanol and animal feed unit -the largest in Europe, Harvest Energy''s biodiesel plant -the largest in the UK, Sabic''s Polyethylene Plant -the largest in the world, Biffa Polymer''s Recycling unit-25% of the UK''s milk bottles, Fuji Biologics - the world's biggest biotech production investment in 2007, and other developments at Fine Organics, Exwold Technology, Baker Petrolite, Mitsubishi Chemicals and more that have come in and invested since ICI left the area four or five years ago.

This is where the general perception is wrong. The companies are here, they are investing and constantly rejuvenating the industry. On the other hand, there are economic facts that cannot be ignored.

When an industry ages, and it doesn''t seem to matter how specialist the products are, there is always a tendency towards commoditisation. What does this mean? How did it impact on granddad''s job? …

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