Iron and steel industries began to develop along the south bank of the Tees between Middlesbrough and Redcar in the 19th century because all the raw materials and fuel supplies were locally available-iron ore from the Cleveland Hills, coking coal from the Durham plateau. As LEDC countries began to develop their industries with much lower labour costs, the industry in Teeside began to decline. The coal mines and shipyards in Teeside have all closed now.
Locational factors which have influenced the growth of steel making on Teesside in the 1990s
- Transport: perhaps being the key factor, the Tees estuary is wide, sheltered and deep. It is navigable for large bulk ore carriers.
- As well as trading with Brazil and Australia, the River Tees is equally useful as the starting point for the export of steel by sea to the EU and other overseas markets.
- A railway line runs next to the works for distribution to other parts of the UK. The long history of steel-making means that labour supply with the necessary skills and experiences exists.
Other heavy industries located on Teesside
Similar location advantages attracted the chemical industry to the banks of the Tees. Since 1950 the major expansion has been oil-based. An oil pipeline from the Ekofisk field in the North Sea brings crude oil ashore at the terminal near Seal Sands. Here also are petrochemical factories which produce petroleum-based products such as plastics and synthetic fibres, which are used in light industrial firms to make consumer goods.