Sales of exports are rising in Lincolnshire

A rise in export sales across Greater Lincolnshire has instilled a quiet sense of confidence in Manufacturing companies in the county.

Manufacturing plays a major role in the economy of the Greater Lincolnshire area, contributing £2.1bn or 12% of total economic value and employing approximately 41,000 people which equates to 10% of all total employment. This is excluding data relating to food manufacturing.

Greater Lincolnshire has a long and distinguished heritage in manufacturing and engineering, with significant concentrations of activity in metals (North Lincolnshire), chemicals/petrochemicals (North and North East Lincolnshire), power/electronic engineering (Lincoln), agricultural engineering (East Lindsey), rubber and plastics (East Lindsey), electrical machinery (Grantham/ Stamford) and wood products (Boston).

North Lincolnshire is home to five power stations, two major oil refineries that generate 27 percent of the UK’s production, British Steel works, over two dozen multinational companies and many more British companies in a number of key sectors including metals and engineering, logistics, chemicals, and food and drink. Locally there are over 25 chemical manufacturers including Koppers Europe and Jotun Paints. The South Humber Bank is home to Phillips66 Humber Refinery and the Total Lindsey Oil Refinery, which form the UK’s largest refinery cluster. Other significant concentrations of manufacturers are focused in the food and drink sector with global players including Pipers Crisps Ltd, Esca Food Solutions, Can Pack and Vion; and in the metals sector the likes of British Steel and Rainham Steel lead the field.

Justin Brown, Enterprise Commissioner for Lincolnshire County Council, said:

Manufacturing is an important sector in Lincolnshire, employing around 38,000 people in some of our most technologically advanced businesses.

In the last three months, we’ve seen an increase in exporting order books for manufacturers, with them taking advantage of the favourable exchange rates. So the current position is one of quiet optimism. Looking past that, there are too many unknowns to make confident predictions about the future.

The UK at large

This optimism is reflected across the country in a post-Brexit climate, where the value you of the pound is low and the price of our exports have become more competitive.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) released its Quarterly SME trends survey earlier this month. The survey of 423 firms reported that total new orders increased slightly in the 3 months leading to October, while output rose by a small amount. Growth in export orders is predicted over the next 3 months.

This confidence has led to new developments in the East Midlands, such as leading manufacturer of sauces, BI Europe Ltd’s recent decision to open a new plant in Loughborough following support from Barclays. The move has enabled them to further develop their company.

Kamal Dhutia, Director of BI Limited said:

The expansion of the business has instigated the move to bigger premises to expand our manufacturing output and to enable us to fulfil more orders. Being in Leicestershire has enabled us to recruit hard working staff who have helped us to grow the business. To be successful today, you have to look for new markets in which to expand so that your client base spans a number of industries.

In addition, the start of work to build a pioneering Advanced Manufacturing Building for the University of Nottingham will help to shape the future of the UK manufacturing sector. The new facility will host several world-leading research groups and accommodate some of the most advanced manufacturing technologies related to automation, precision manufacturing, 3D printing and lightweight composite materials.

Calls on the government to support innovation through R&D spending

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said: 

Smaller manufacturers are increasingly confident about their export prospects in the months ahead as they continue to reap benefits from the weaker pound. But this is also leading to a rise in costs at home. Setting the right environment for firms to innovate must be at the heart of the Autumn Statement, so the government should commit to a long-term target for R&D spending of 3% of GDP, getting behind Innovate UK and our catapult centres.