Saturday 1 October 2016

Glanbia systems 'creaking' from surge in volumes

Published 01/07/2015 | 02:30

Glanbia's €185m processing facility at Belview
Glanbia's €185m processing facility at Belview

A 20pc increase in weekly milk deliveries has put Glanbia's milk collection service under increasing strain, with milk hauliers threatening to cease working with the company if changes are not implemented.

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The processor claimed that new Belview facility is performing "close to" expectations with "absolutely no big issues" since breakdowns in May. However, massive volumes of high constituent milk have put the country's largest processor's other key facility at Ballyragget under pressure to cope with deliveries within the target turn-around time of 30 minutes.

Lorry drivers claimed that they have been waiting for up to three hours per load in the last week at Glanbia facilities. Last month trucks were waiting for up to eight hours to get unloaded at Belview when the plant experienced some serious teething problems.

"Things start to slow down in mid week, which ends up dragging on into the weekend. My average waiting time is close 90 minutes," said one haulier based in the southeast. "That's double what I'd budgeted for and I'm paying my guys per hour."

Facilities

However, one of the main hauliers into Glanbia, Richie Duggan from Glenmore in Kilkenny, claimed that his trucks were not experiencing any delays, with turn-around times regularly less than 30 minutes.

However, a spokesman for the company said that average turn-around times at the firm's facilities were closer to one hour.

Excellent grass growth and grazing conditions have driven Glanbia's milk supplies faster than any other processor, but sources within the company said that the system was creaking and making life "very uncomfortable" for staff on the ground.

Older storage facilities such as Castlelyons, that were intended to be phased out this year, have been extensively used to cope with the extra volumes.

Glanbia's spokesman said that milk deliveries could be up by as much as 29pc when additional volumes that were handled by other processors in 2014 were included this year.

He stated that Belview was processing up to 15 million of litres of milk weekly, which was "close to the forecast for the first season".

He added that the plant was under-going tests this week by major infant milk formula customers.

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