Jobs boost for Shetland: work on plant extension to begin – Fishupdate.com

Jobs boost for Shetland: work on plant extension to begin Published:  02 August, 2006

A MAJOR extension to a Shetland salmon processor that could create up to 70 new jobs is finally getting under way.

Local building firm Hunter and Morrisons has been awarded the contract to build the £3.2 million extension to Lerwick Fish Traders (LFT), based at Gremista, in Lerwick.

The investment will see LFT moving into value adding processing of locally farmed salmon and is a joint project of Lerwick Port Authority and the salmon company.

The project has been delayed by at least a year because the layout of loading bays had to be redesigned to enable the extension to go ahead with the proposed bridge to the island of Bressay in its immediate vicinity.

The port authority is to invest £1.3 million into the construction of the actual building with the remaining funding for equipping the factory coming from the European Union, the Shetland Development Trust, Shetland Enterprise, the islands’ council and LFT itself, part of the Hjaltland Seafarms Group.

Its managing director, Michael Stark said yesterday: “The expansion will allow us to strengthen our market position and the future of salmon farming and processing in Shetland. We currently employ 170 people and our plans will create up to 70 additional jobs in Shetland.”

In the current year, the company will produce around 16,500 tonnes of salmon and around 1,000 tonnes of salmon trout, rising to 19,500 tonnes of salmon in 2007.

Mr Stark added: “Integrating farming, processing, sales and marketing has already given us the edge in a highly competitive global marketplace. By expanding into value added semi-finished and finished products, we will have even more flexibility to meet customer demands and accommodate any fluctuation in the market.”

The port authority’s chief executive Allan Wishart said LFT’s plan was in line with the growth strategy for the harbour.

He said: “Lerwick Port Authority is funding the building part of the

project with assistance from ERDF. The £1.3 million investment from the authority will be recouped through rental income.

“We have provided this support as it will give the vertically-integrated company a valuable strength in the marketplace by allowing them to add value to their product.

“This will be particularly important during times when salmon prices may fluctuate and the added-value aspect of the business shall strengthen the competitiveness of Hjaltland Seafarms group as a whole.

“Our support for this shoreside tenant is in keeping with our strategy and business plan for the port of Lerwick, and the project will not only safeguard existing harbour trade but will also stimulate growth in that sector.”

Hunter and Morrisons will start work on the project this month and

completion of the project is expected within 13 months.

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