Canadian pork and poultry producer Olymel announced this week an investment of more than $31.5 million to expand its poultry slaughter and cutting plant in St-Damase in the Montérégie region of Quebec in order to diversify operations and add new activities. The 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, the company said.
The major investment is aimed particularly at equipping the plant with additional cutting, deboning and tray packing lines as well as new high-capacity, state-of-the-art equipment. The expansion work, which is expected to last about a year, will take place without interrupting the plant's current operations and will add 35,200 sq. ft. to its current surface area.
“By acquiring the space and equipment needed to prepackage products directly at the plant, Olymel will be able to better serve clients who require large volumes of prepackaged poultry products for their needs,” Olymel president and chief executive Réjean Nadeau said. “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, Nadeau said the 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.”
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 includes work to expand the cafeteria and employee service areas.
Including this newest investment, Olymel pointed out that it has spent nearly $60 million in recent years to modernize and expand its poultry processing plant in St-Damase. In 2016, major work was carried out on an air-cooling room, while in 2019, the company installed a major carbon dioxide 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.