SOUTH AFRICA – Huhtamaki, a global food packaging specialist, has announced that it is establishing a new manufacturing facility in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, in a bid to boost its capacity.

Due to begin operations in the fourth quarter of 2021, the facility will serve its existing and new egg packaging customers in the province, with a broad range of locally produced packaging solutions.

Employing around 30 people when fully operational, the facility will be located close to one of South Africa’s main export ports, enabling competitive exports of egg packaging for customers across East Africa.

The new investment, of an undisclosed value, underlines Huhtamaki´s strong commitment to the growing customer base in South Africa and East Africa, as the addition of several new lines will allow a significant increase in capacity.

“The addition of a unit in KwaZulu-Natal is an important addition to our fiber packaging footprint in South Africa not only providing efficiencies in our service to customers in South Africa but an additional benefit in terms of proximity to a major port which will drive access to markets across East Africa.

“The new facility sets us up to better meet the growth of the fiber packaging sector and future demand for sustainable packaging. It also strengthens our position in the region significantly,” says Eric Le Lay, President, Fiber Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania.

The global fiber packaging market was valued at US$ 3.61 billion in 2020

RESEARCH and markets

The Finnish sustainable packaging provider has operated in South Africa since 2000 and currently employs around 530 people across four manufacturing units, producing fibre packaging for eggs and fruits, foodservice packaging, and flexible packaging.

Earlier this year, Huhtamaki announced a €10 million (US$12.19m) investment in a new manufacturing site in Malaysia, in order to better serve its customers in Southeast Asia.

These investments will enable the packaging provider to further expand its market share in the global fiber packaging segment which was valued at US$ 3.61 billion in 2020, and expected to exhibit a CAGR of 7.86% from 2021 – 2026, according to Research and Markets.

As part of the investment, the company is transferring its Malaysia manufacturing base from Penang to Port Klang, Selangor State – the capital region of the country – as it seeks to better serve its customers and respond to future growth of the sector.

Like its existing plant, the facility will initially focus on manufacturing paper cups, but Huhtamaki says the new site will allow it to expand its product range and introduce new sustainable paper-based technologies.

The approximate €10 million (US$12.19m) investment will be used to improve the infrastructure and fund machinery investments and installations.

The company is also establishing a new fibre packaging manufacturing plant at its existing site in Alabuga, Russia, after witnessing rapid growth of the retail and egg packaging sectors in the region.

Huhtamaki operates in 36 countries and 81 sites around the world.

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