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LSC Jamaica to quadruple capacity with Rockfort lease

Published:Friday | November 11, 2016 | 11:00 AMNeville Graham
Neil Crooks, managing director of LSC Jamaica.

Lubricating Specialties Company Jamaica Limited (LSC Jamaica) will open a second plant in Kingston that is four to five times its current capacity, having inked a long-term lease agreement with Rubis Energy Jamaica for its lubricant manufacturing facility.

Managing Director of LSC Jamaica Neil Crooks says his company will be breathing new life into the former Shell Rockfort lubricants blending site, but declined to disclose the level of investment it will take.

"There used to be a blending facility which we will be revitalising and put into action. The construction period will still allow us to bring in raw material by vessel and pipelines. This just fits in with our regional strategy. It will allow us to be a lot more efficient in how we manufacture here to supply the local market and for export," Crooks told the Financial Gleaner on Thursday.

He said the revitalisation programme is in the planning phase at present, but that the plant should be operational by early to mid-2017.

An earlier release from the company said the move by LSC Jamaica solidifies its position as the only lubricant manufacturer currently operating in

Jamaica and as a significant player in the region. LSC currently operates a plant in May Pen, Clarendon, where it manufactures Top 1 motor vehicle lubricants. The brand is distributed locally by Island Lubes.

The May Pen plant has a capacity of 250,000 gallons; the Rockfort plant will have a capacity of 1.2 million gallons.

Crooks acknowledges that the company may be faced with excess capacity when the new facility comes on stream, but notes that the May Pen operation is critical to LSC's bid to service existing clients and pursue regional markets and, as such, will stay open.

"Our May Pen facility is ideally located in an industrial hub area. We are therefore well placed to support industries like bauxite and sugar and others. It really offers a good logistical position from which to service our clients. In addition, it will offer that level of comfort that some of our regional clients need when they are depending on us from a manufacturing and supply standpoint," Crooks said.

The old Shell Rockfort facility is situated at the eastern end of Kingston Harbour on the site of the present operation of fuels marketing giant Rubis, which acquired the former Shell assets several years ago. The plant has been lying idle for decades

since Shell discontinued the manufacturing and distribution of lubricants, long before its eventual pull-out from Jamaica.

Managing Director of Rubis Energy Jamaica Limited Alain Carreau said he is pleased to have a strong strategic partner that can put the idle asset back into operation.

"We are looking forward to seeing LSC develop the lubricant plant at Rockfort into a world-class facility. The reopening of the lubricants plant at Rockfort and the investments planned in the facility will benefit Jamaica and the Caribbean region as a whole, and will result in a new source of competitively priced lubricants in the region," Carreau said.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com