Chemical industry cluster signs pact for competitiveness and internationalization

The Petrochemical, Chemical Industry and Refining Cluster and the Portuguese Ministry of Economy signed, on September 11, the Pact for Competitiveness and Internationalization, an act that APQuímica, the managing entity of the cluster, considers as a fundamental impetus to modernization, internationalization and reinforcement of the export vocation of the whole sector.

APQuímica is the national reference association for the Chemical, Petrochemical and Refining sector, and has among its associates the most representative companies in the field. Bondalti, as an associate and founding member, has been actively involved in strengthening this entity, as well as boosting the Cluster.


With the pact now signed, sector agents and official entities, through IAPMEI – Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation, will promote and endorse proximity actions to implement the strategy developed within the framework of APQuímica and which is based on seven essential vectors: Integration of Value Chains and Specialties; Human Capital, R&D and Innovation; Industrial Symbiosis and Circular Economy; Decarbonization and Energy Transition; Infrastructure, Transport and Logistics; Responsible Action and Connection with Society; Industry 4.0 and Production Modernization.


“The role of clusters, and in particular the Cluster of Petrochemicals, Chemical Industry and Refining, is crucial today, as new development models based on networking are being sought,” explains Luís Rebelo da Silva, President of APQuímica and member of the board of Bondalti, further adding that "the signing of this pact is an essential step in the path of evolution of a sector that is already fundamental to the national economy."


In Portugal, the Chemicals, Petrochemicals and Refining sector is responsible for 52.000 direct and indirect jobs, 12 billion euros of annual turnover, 1.8 billion euros of gross added value and 14% of the total Portuguese exports, selling to over 180 countries. This industry is still characterized by high levels of research and development, accounting for 20% of innovation expenses across the entire manufacturing industry.


The numbers are significant, but the relevance of the sector goes beyond economic importance, as Luís Rebelo da Silva points out: “This industry has a historic capacity for innovation in the service of mankind. Today it makes part of 95% of all goods produced. In this sense, it is an activity that is part of our daily lives”.


Managed by APQuímica, the Chemical, Petrochemical and Refining Industry Cluster exists for over 10 years and its mission is to stimulate the competitiveness of the sector, namely in terms of exports and attracting investment, as well as creating a robust and systematic networking environment.


The Cluster has in its composition and diversity one of its great strengths and an important differentiating factor. It comprises over 60 organizations, including large industrial companies, SMEs, startups, academic institutions, R&D centers and other relevant entities along its value chain, including several national harbours.


Over the years, it has developed and launched key and strategic initiatives, particularly in the areas of R&D, innovation and knowledge transfer, which would not be possible to achieve on an individual, business-to-business basis.