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Home > News > Industry News > Time to establish another glass factory

Time to establish another glass factory

Post Time:Apr 12,2022Classify:Industry NewsView:947

I am not sure how many people are aware, but every glass container that is used in Jamaica is imported. It is one of the main packaging materials used in the manufacturing of liquor, beer, sauces, seasonings, and juices. Plastic containers are not an option for these products.

Since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic and increased freight rates, it has become more and more difficult to procure glass and at an affordable cost. Jamaica glass imports amount to many millions of US dollars annually. 

Without glass, many plants would be left idle as there would be no finished product to market. This leaves companies very vulnerable and at the mercy of external suppliers.

Currently, glass manufacturers are allocating the amount of glass in terms of weight (metric tons) that they can supply each customer in 2022. In most cases these allocations are a fraction of the actual requirement, forcing customers to source more expensive glass elsewhere to ensure that they will be able to maintain their important export markets. 

Still, many companies are concerned that they will not have adequate packaging for 2022, resulting in lower production. 

Customers are now moving to nearshore suppliers, albeit more expensive, to avoid long transit times and volatile shipping rates. As a result, the glass situation is expected to get worse and not better if existing capacities are not increased in the medium to long term. 

Jamaica had its own glass factory up to the late 1980s — West Indies Glass. It was not a very efficiently run plant, but when another glass company bought it, people were optimistic that they would have turned it around. Unfortunately, that never materialised as the purchaser closed the plant down shortly after the takeover. 

I think the time is now ripe for us to invite a global glass company to build a plant in Jamaica to service the domestic and export market. We have the sand and limestone, which are some of the main raw materials needed for the process. 

The Government would have to provide some incentives, but it would be more than worth it, considering the amount of foreign exchange that the country would be saving. The private sector would also have to be fully committed to this investment for it to work. 

Jamaica's demand for glass is huge, and glass is a commodity that you cannot get enough of, and demand is increasing daily. 

We need to start securing our packaging if we want to maintain and grow our export markets, and a glass factory would allow us to do that. 

Recycling of glass would once again become viable as this would provide some raw material for the factory. 

Without proper packaging, food producers would not be able to operate — period; farmers would not be able to sell their produce; unemployment would increase; government would get less revenue; and we could go on and on. 

Yes, we need to invest in our agriculture, but we also need to invest in our packaging simultaneously so that we can have all the parts to complete the unit. 

The old adage comes to mind, “People do not plan to fail. They fail to plan.” Let us start planning ahead, if not for ourselves, then for those who come after us.

Source: https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/Author: shangyi

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