Cari-Med breaks ground for $6-billion distribution centre in Bernard Lodge

Tank-Weld wins contract

BY DURRANT PATE
Observer business writer

Friday, October 18, 2019

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Cari-Med Group is expanding its distribution network with Wednesday's ground-breaking for the construction of its distribution centre at Bernard Lodge, St. Catherine, slated to cost over $6 billion.

The new 24,000 square metre property, which is located beside GraceKennedy Distribution Hub, will house the warehouse and administrative offices of the group's Consumer Goods Division. The project will be developed in two phases with phase one set to be completed in December 2020.

Chairman and CEO of the Cari-Med Group, Glen Christian, who made the announcement at the ground-breaking ceremony, pointed out that “The rapid growth of the consumer goods division has created the need for warehousing space. Currently the operations of the group's consumer goods warehouses are based at several locations in Kingston and St Andrew.”

The construction of this new facility will consolidate all these warehouses as well as associated commercial and support services at the Bernard Lodge location. However, the group's pharmaceutical distribution operations will continue to operate from its Lady Musgrave Road head office.

In addition to consolidating warehouses, the group recently consolidated its operations under a more streamlined organisational structure. As a result on May 1, 2019, the Cari-Med Group was incorporated, comprising Cari-Med Distributors - Pharmaceutical and Consumer Divisions; Kirk Distributors - Consumer and Pharmaceutical Divisions; Federated Pharmaceuticals; Bomber Manufacturing Division as well as Cari-Med International, the group's export arm.

In terms of employment, Christian said, “We expect to create some 150 jobs during the course of construction as well as new jobs once the distribution centre is completed.”

 

TANK-WELD WINS CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT

The contract for the construction of the distribution centre has been awarded to local company Tank-Weld Limited following a highly competitive bidding process, while the design of the complex was done by the architectural firm of Mark Taylor & Associates.

The property was bought from the National Lands Agency, which advertised it for sale. Christian told the large gathering of clients, customers, well-wishers, political representatives and the media that he decided to purchase the property in support of the vision articulated by the Government under the Urban Renewal Act of 2008.

The objective of that statute is to stem urban blight by offering tax incentives to businesses to build in certain specially designated areas. He expressed the hope that more businesses will follow the precedent set by companies such as GraceKennedy, LASCO and Wisynco, which have built major facilities in the area.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who was the guest speaker heaped praise on Christian for being a trailblazer in business in Jamaica, expressing the wish that Cari-Med's success can be replicated across the island.

“People like Glen take a risk on Jamaica…you are an important asset to Jamaica,” the prime minister said.

 

BUSINESS AND CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

Holness also commented on the just released Business and Consumer Confidence Survey, which showed that business confidence has declined. He noted that the survey indicated that the reason why business confidence declined was the expectation of business owners that the profits they have been experiencing might not continue in the next quarter.

He made the point that it is a good thing that businesses have been experiencing profits even though they expect the growth in profits to taper off. The prime minister emphasised that for every quarter up to this point business confidence has been improving.


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