JIS News

Story Highlights

  • President of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Brian Pengelley, is urging manufacturers to seek to produce raw materials locally, instead of importing items, so as to reduce production costs and drive economic growth.
  • Mr. Pengelley praised Corrpak on its efforts at import substitution in the manufacturing of export packaging, as well as its move to boost production capacity.
  • Mr. Pengelley said there are positive developments in the economy, which he credited to policy measures by Government, which have boosted business confidence.

President of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Brian Pengelley, is urging manufacturers to seek to produce raw materials locally, instead of importing items, so as to reduce production costs and drive economic growth.

“There is still a lot of products being imported into Jamaica, (in terms of) raw materials. We are currently in excess of 90 per cent of our raw materials being imported. That’s (an) opportunity for import substitution…we have to do that (in order to improve efficiencies),” he said.

Mr. Pengelley was speaking to JIS News yesterday (June 4) following a tour of Corrpak Jamaica’s Marcus Garvey Drive location in Kingston.

The company, which produces cardboard boxes, is expanding its plant to meet the demands of the local and exports markets.

Mr. Pengelley praised Corrpak on its efforts at import substitution in the manufacturing of export packaging, as well as its move to boost production capacity.

“We are looking at a Jamaican manufacturer that has, over the years, expanded and certainly doing a lot of import substitution…and employing Jamaicans from this community (Marcus Garvey Drive),” he said.

He noted that Corrpak’s current expansion drive shows that manufacturing has a role to play “in this whole economic recovery, and it has long-term effects. We can put people to work”.

Mr. Pengelley said there are positive developments in the economy, which he credited to policy measures by Government, which have boosted business confidence.

“Recently, the last survey, last year, we increased employment 10 per cent (with) nearly 8,000 jobs. That is coming from all that work that has been going on; some of the new policies (have led to increased) confidence. People are starting to invest again. It’s a slow burn, but it is going to happen and it is happening,” he said.

For his part, Executive Chairman of Corrpak Jamaica, Howard Mitchell, noted that the packaging industry, which is valued at around $4 billion, is a very important part of the economy.

He informed that the company, which is one of two local companies that manufactures cardboard “from scratch”, has been in existence for about 8½ years and has consistently tried to produce at international standards. The company produces export packaging for agricultural produce, seafood, syrups, and sauces, among other things.

“We have built a name and a reputation, and we have expanded our production in the last two years; and now we are increasing our capacity and taking more of the share of imported packaging into Jamaica,” he said.

Speaking to some of the successes of the company, Mr. Mitchell pointed out that over the last 18 months, Corrpak’s revenue has increased by 42 per cent, profit is up over 100 per cent, and production is becoming more efficient.

“We are on the start of a road. We have ambitions to look at Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certification, we achieved International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification two years ago,” he informed.

Mr. Mitchell further pointed out that the move to further boost the company’s capacity is being undertaken at a cost of $100 million and involves expansion of its physical infrastructure and the addition of equipment.

“Currently, we have put in another 20,000 square feet, and within the next six months we hope to put in another 17,000 square feet. So, we have almost doubled the size of the factory, which is now about 66,000 square feet, and it is going to be about 80,000 square feet shortly,” he informed.

The company currently produces 800,000 cartons per month, and with the added capacity, it is expected that another 300,000 can be produced.

Mr. Mitchell said the company’s success shows that manufacturing can be successful in Jamaica. “It can be the long and medium-term foundation for other enterprises, other activities, and it should be because manufacturing adds to our human capital value,” he contended.

“The people (employed here) are getting training, they are getting a sense of doing something tangible, they have secure jobs. Most of those people – the core group, have been with us from inception,” he proudly stated.

With the added capacity, the Executive Chairman said the company will also looking to expand its export base, and entering more lucrative markets.

Corrpak exports packaging products to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) markets, and also ships waste cardboard material for recycling.

In the meantime, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Resident Representative in Jamaica, Dr. Bert van Selm, who was also on the tour, said the visit “is extremely encouraging.”

“This is exactly what the economic reform programme is supposed to do. It’s supposed to create an environment where businesses, like Corrpak, can grow, that policies are developed in consultation with the private sector, to put in place macro-economic stability…(and) also (a) tax regime that works for businesses on the ground and that’s great to see that here,” he said.