Olymel is investing more than CA$31.5 million (US$23.5 million) to expand its poultry slaughtering and cutting plant in St-Damase, Montérégie, Quebec, to help the company diversify its operations at the facility.
This project will result in the creation of more than 80 new jobs and bring the total number of employees at this facility to nearly 500, spread over two shifts. This major investment is aimed in particular at equipping the plant with additional cutting, deboning and tray packing lines, as well as new high-capacity, state-of-the-art equipment. The work began on September 28 and is expected to last about a year. This expansion will add 35,200 square feet to the plant's current surface area.
"By acquiring the space and equipment needed to pre-package products directly at the plant, Olymel will be able to better serve clients who require large volumes of pre-packaged poultry products for their needs. Olymel will thus bring operations that used to take place externally in-house, enabling it to reduce product handling and transportation time, and have better control over quality, order management and logistics. In addition to contributing to the economic development of the Montérégie region, this investment is an integral part of Olymel's determination to consolidate its position in the poultry market, and after the recent difficult months marked by the pandemic, it is also a sign of confidence in the future," said Réjean Nadeau, president and CEO of Olymel.
Besides the addition of an automated cutting line, three automatic deboning lines and four tray packing lines, the work associated with this new investment will also include the development of various production-related areas, a new shipping area and a new refrigerated warehouse. The project also includes work to expand the cafeteria and employee service areas.
With this new investment, Olymel has spent nearly CA$60 million in recent years to modernize and expand its poultry processing plant in St-Damase. In 2016, major work was also carried out on an air-cooling room, while in 2019, the company installed a major CO2 anesthesia system, with the aim of achieving the highest standards of animal welfare and improving the working environment.
Olymel's St-Damase facility serves private customers with fresh poultry products, but also supplies the company's poultry further-processing plants, including the neighboring plant in Ste-Rosalie, also in the Montérégie region. Olymel's St-Damase plant produces more than 70 million kilos of poultry products annually.