CPJ invests US$10 million in new distribution centre

CPJ launches new US$10million distribution centre in Montego Bay

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The 25-year-old Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited (CPJ) had a grand opening of its new US$10-million distribution centre inside the Montego Freeport yesterday.

Executive chairman of CPJ Mark Hart attributed the new development to low interest rates introduced by former Finance Minister Audley Shaw, who was the guest speaker at the opening.

“Without you (Shaw) this building would not likely have been built. It was Minister Shaw as opposition spokesman on finance who repeatedly boasted that he could lower interest rates and it was Minister Shaw as minister of finance that kept that promise. Who would have dreamed that we could be here borrowing money at a developed country's rate — and Minister, that has been the game-changer for economic growth that is sustainable and for social upliftment. Thank you,” said Hart, who was at one stage moved to tears during his closing remarks.

AccordIng to Hart's partner, Tom Tyler, founder and co-chair of CPJ, the 56,000 square-foot world-class distribution centre is intricately designed to move multiple temperature zone products with operational efficiency at international safety and health standards.

“This distribution centre is the only facility of its kind on the north coast, and by far the biggest. It rivals top facilities in Kingston, and around the world, and is poised to take, not just CPJ's, but also Jamaica's distribution to another level,” Tyler disclosed.

“It will house products in five temperatures: Freezing, 36 degrees, 50 degrees, 58 degrees and 68 degrees, providing a proper cold chain to the market.”

Tyler argued that the newly constructed facility will allow CPJ — which distributes most of its products, including dry goods, dry foods, refrigerated frozen goods, wines and spirits, meats etcetera mostly to retail markets, restaurants and hotels — to capitalise on the expected boom in hotel room stock.

“With the hotel industry set to add another 4-5,000 rooms within the next three years, these numbers are going to continue to climb. We saw it coming and rose to meet the challenge when we started construction in 2017,” the CPJ founder said during his welcome remarks.

President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association Omar Robinson agreed that the investment was timely.

In chronicling the distribution company's development over the past 25 years, Tyler noted that a state-of-the-art meat-processing facility was vertically integrated with the pig farming industry.

“We now consume up to a 1,000 pigs a month,” Tyler said.

Shaw was happy to hear about the work that CPJ was doing with the local pig farmers.

“I am very pleased that among the things you are doing now is the large work that you are doing with our pig farmers and I am encouraging you to increase that because, believe it or not, we still have periods of glut in the pork industry,” Shaw said.

Meanwhile, chief executive officer of CPJ Dr David Lowe, in his opening remarks, noted that the opening of the new distribution centre represents, among other things, “a milestone for our 25th year and a significant expansion in our capacity”.

“By providing this additional capacity and new support services, we are confident that we will continue to be a critical stakeholder in the tourism industry and food service across the island. We are getting ahead of the curve by being ready to accommodate this demand,” Dr Lowe stated.

He added: “We have won the award for the best purveyor by Jamaica Tourism and Hotel Association for 10 out of the last 11 years. We want to continue earning the trust and support by evolving and investing in our ability to service the industry.”


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