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Rainforest expanding Kingston plant, relocating some production to Montego Bay

Published:Sunday | May 8, 2016 | 5:00 AMTameka Gordon
CEO of Rainforest Seafoods Brian Jardim (right) shows lobster ready for export to Industry Minister Karl Samuda, on a tour of the company's Kingston plant on Friday, May 6, 2016.
Workers on the assembly line at Rainforest Seafoods plant in Kingston on Friday, May 6, 2016.
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Rainforest Seafoods says it will relocate most of its wet protein processing facility to its home base in Montego Bay, which is to undergo expansion later this year.

Meanwhile, space is being added to the Slipe Road, Kingston plant, a project that is already under way.

"We are doing some construct-ion to put in more processing facilities," marketing manager Roger Lym said on a tour of the plant Friday. He said the company intends to add more shelf stable products to its offerings.

Rainforest also disclosed last month that it would be expanding its complex in Montego Bay under a US$10 million investment. The infrastructure work for that project is soon to get under way.

Rainforest CEO Brian Jardim said when commissioned, the new plant in Montego Bay - to be developed on a two-acre site next to the existing plant at Montego Freeport - will allow the Kingston factory "more space to add some other lines for the cooking, breading, marinating, forming, and smoking" of its products.

Jardim described the Kingston plant as "bursting at the seams" given the aggressive drive in recent years to expand the product portfolio.

The added space will give Rainforest scope to execute new projects.

But: "You need the redundancy, too. You never know if you will have an issue with any element of your production process," Jardim said.

The vacated space will accommodate Rainforest's plans for ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat products, he said. Soups are soon to be added to the line.

The 'wet' operations include processing of products such as lobster and fish. A "fair chunk" of the wet operation is being moved to MoBay because, logistically, that hub is better poised to airlift the products to the various markets, Jardim explained.

Rainforest is pushing exports of live lobsters to Asia and plans to launch into exports of local land crabs.

"The proximity of Montego Bay to the south coast in bringing goods in (from) Black River and Lucea - to be able to bring those products into Montego Bay - justifies that investment," Jardim said. He also touted the proximity to airlift, which he described as superior.

The 16-year-old seafood company has been in expansion mode for several years, with a heavy focus towards value-added products. It recently added chicken sausages, and by summer, will add fish and turkey sausages.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com