Overview of the Chemicals Industry in the United Kingdom & How to Buy Chemicals
- The UK is located in Europe
- It has a population of 66.65 million
- Capital: London
- Official Language: English
- Total Area: 242,495 km2
- Currency: Pound Sterling
Economy of the UK
The United Kingdom is the 5th largest national economy with a GDP of 3.78 trillion US $.
The UK ranks 22nd when it comes to GDP per capita.
The largest industries in the UK are banking and finance, steel, transport equipment, oil and gas, and tourism.
Economy break down: manufacturing 17.41 %, 71.26 % from the service sector and agriculture 0.61%.
Main Importers of the UK:
- German 13%
- US 9.9%
- China 9.7%
- Netherlands 7.0%
- France 5.7%
- Belgium 4.7%
Main Exports of the UK:
- US 16%
- Germany 10%
- France 6.9%
- Netherlands 6.7%
- China 6.6%
- Ireland 6.1%
Chemical Use in the UK:
Given the economic growth of the UK, it is an attractive country for chemicals trade. The UK’s chemical industry is diverse and includes chemicals for petrochemicals, inorganics, polymers, agrochemicals, lubricants, fuel additives, construction chemicals and catalysts.
The chemical sector contributes £19.2 billion to the economy and about 6% GDP and about 11% of manufacturing GDP in the UK.
The Steel Industry:
The steel industry makes up a significant part of the UK, a number of chemicals are used in the finishing stage, these are Hydrochloric acid and Sulfuric acid. This process is called pickling.
Transport equipment manufacturing includes railroad equipment, aircraft and aerospace equipment and motor vehicle equipment. The chemicals used in the manufacturing process of steel and metal (commonly used in the manufacturing of transport equipment) are Calcium chloride, Cobalt acetate, Iron and Nickle.
The Oil and Gas Industry:
The oil and gas industry makes up a significant part of the UK economy, BP is a UK company and ranks 4th in the worlds leading oil and gas companies. During the exploration and production process of oil and gas, many chemicals are used, these are Acetic acid, Boric acid, Calcium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Ethylene Glycol, Formic acid, Hydrochloric acid, Phosphoric acid, Potassium hydroxide, Sodium carbonate and Sodium hydroxide.
A wide range of chemicals are used extensively in the UK’s oil and gas industry. Chemicals are used in every aspect of the production, manufacturing, extracting and fracking processes.
The UK is accessible by both land and sea. For international trading the main seaports are:
- Port of Felixstowe
- Port of Southampton
- Port of London
- Port of Immingham
- Port of Liverpool
For importing the good, Camachem uses the United Kingdom’s largest port of Felixstowe.
A wide range of chemicals are used extensively in the UK’s industries. Felixstowe Port is the largest port in the United Kingdom. It is located in Suffolk and deals with 48% of the UK’s containerised trade, many of which is chemicals and manufacturing materials from around the world.
What chemicals does the UK Import?
According to the latest trade data, the UK imports US$10.13 billion in organic chemicals. They include chemicals such as:
- Calcium Hypochlorite
- Diethylene Glycol
- Ethylene Glycol
- Citric Acid Anhydrous
- Epoxy Resin
- Potassium Amyl Xanthate
- Phosphoric acid
- Sodium carbonate
- Sodium hydroxide
What are the Regulations on Importing Chemicals to the UK?
Due to the UK’s exit of the European Union, there have been changes in the chemical importing process.
The new process is the importer must classify, label and package the chemical substance and mixtures and ensure this is in line with the CLP regulations. The importer must notify the CLP classifications regarding the substances to the Classification and Labelling Inventory established at the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
Why should The United Kingdom import chemicals?
- Availability - The local industry has limited capacity and some clients require chemicals in a timely manner.
- High Chemical Cost - Given domestic competition and high production costs, chemicals are more expensive to buy domestically than they are on the world market.
- Chemical Quality - While most international chemical suppliers have good brand reputation and quality, some smaller domestic manufacturers can have variant chemical quality.
Where Can I Buy Chemicals for the United Kingdom?