Monday 26 September 2016

Belview back in action

Published 03/06/2015 | 02:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny pictured with Jim Bergin CEO Glanbia Ingredients Ireland, and EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan at the official launch of the Glanbia Ingredients Plant at Belview, Waterford in March
Taoiseach Enda Kenny pictured with Jim Bergin CEO Glanbia Ingredients Ireland, and EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan at the official launch of the Glanbia Ingredients Plant at Belview, Waterford in March

Teething problems continue to plague Glanbia's new state-of-the-art milk processing facility at Belview, following another break-down in the plant's second drier late last week.

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Problems were first reported at the €185m factory a month ago, when blockages in the drier forced milk lorries to queue for hours before being diverted to as far away as Virginia in Cavan, and Carbery in west Cork.

The problematic commissioning phase comes at the worst possible time for Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GII), with milk production hitting the record levels on GII supplier farms. Volumes were reported to be 16pc higher during the latter half of May compared to the same period last year.

The two 7.5t driers at Belview are designed to process up to 2.5m litres of milk a day, but problems with a pasteurised compounded issues for GII last weekend.

"Initially the drier was the issue, but when one of the pasteurisers was down on Friday, that became the real bottleneck, which created some pretty serious delays," said a spokesman for the company.

Milk was subsequently diverted to GII's other processing facilities at Ballyragget, Virginia and Wexford, although these had limited additional capacity.

"There's always an element of milk moving around between processors at this time of year when processing lines go down. We take milk from others, and vice versa," said the spokesman.

The backlog in milk collections also forced a re-jig of milk collections, with farmers with less storage capacity prioritised for collection over the weekend. However, the company said that the backlog was cleared by Monday.

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