More reasons to eat Grimsby processed seafood across UK
THE first meals featuring Morrisons' seafood – and processed in Grimsby – have landed on plates around the country.
A team of 90 are now working at the Europarc plant, preparing the cod, haddock and salmon for the wet fish counters of 470 superstores.
Initial supplies went into Morrisons outlets yesterday, after a dedicated shift worked from 5am to 8pm on Sunday to see off the first lorries.
Grimsby food industry logistics giant Quayside has won the contract to handle the distribution, with a trickle feed from factory gate to Grimsby Fish Market, where depot deliveries nationwide are managed from. Howard Sims, managing director of Morrisons Manufacturing – Grimsby, said: "I am absolutely delighted. I think it has gone remarkably well for a start-up business."
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Praise has been lavished on the town for ensuring it could happen so swiftly, with staff and companies who have gained new work at the former Kwoks premises on Pegasus Way, singled out.
Mr Sims said: "Training has been good over the last four to five weeks and everyone was working so hard, I have never seen anything like it. We had people working from 5am to 8pm. They were asked at the end of the shift if they wanted to go, but they said 'no, we'll see it through' – it was fantastic.
"People must not underestimate what has been achieved. We only bought this property in March, it has been unbelievable. The relationships we have had have been very positive. I am delighted with the workforce we have got, and then from Anglian Water to the local council, the planning officers, and the environmental health officers, all have had input and all have been positive – even down to the drainage authority."
The initial team of 90, which includes staff smoking cod, haddock and salmon, will soon be bolstered as the working day is increased.
Two shifts are already on the white fish processing, with a second to be added to the salmon line. That will take the head count to 110, with the opening of a high-care shellfish element planned for November, adding a further 40.
Some simple pre-packaged added value work will also begin in the near future.
By then, 130 tonnes of seafood a week will leave Grimsby for the supermarkets, with much sourced directly from Norway and Iceland, as well as the town's recently-refurbished market.
Principal contractor Intelect Engineering, of Grimsby, town electrical contractor Wil-Lec and Humberston's Central Insulations were all praised for keeping to a strict deadline, which Mr Sims explained was in order to be fully prepared for the Christmas peak, with Grimsby Institute assisting with training at the neighbouring Humber Seafood Institute.
He said: "I didn't want to let it slip. Any later than the end of September would have been affecting the training period we need to put into the high care facility.
"That would have run over Christmas and then people would have started running scared and we wouldn't have opened until January," he said. "It was important we kept to early September."
Head of operations Rob Smith, who with Mr Sims put the proposal to Morrisons, having worked together in Grimsby previously, said: "We are absolutely delighted with the progress we have made.
"We have pulled together a fantastic team, we have engaged industry experts, and partners, such as equipment supplier Marel and principal contractor Intelect, and we have got to where we are as well as we could have done.
"We will have a world-class facility in a very short space of time."
Town seafood specialist creates five new roles
FIVE new jobs have been created at town seafood specialist Quayside Distribution, after the third-party logistics contract was won.
The company, headed by Mick Wilkinson, has delivered daily to Morrisons’ regional distribution centres for the past 14 years, and secured the deal with the new manufacturing facility earlier this year.
Quayside will handle all seafood in and out of the plant, consolidating orders with other suppliers at Grimsby Fish Market, where it is headquartered. The number of warehouse jobs could increase alongside volumes next year.
The 15-year-old firm’s locations at the market, and on South Humberside Industrial Estate, have helped make the start up of the factory go relatively smoothly, with resources made available to Morrisons on the pre-production trials, said Andrew Kirk, general manager.
Quayside is used to operating huge contracts, such as a deal with Marine Harvest which covers 52,000 tonnes of farmed salmon annually. It has capacity to store 11,500 pallets.