FrieslandCampina announced plans to build a new cheese warehouse in Gerkesklooster, the Netherlands, and refurbish its brine plant that was destroyed in a fire on July 29.
The new $37.4 million automated cheese warehouse will house storage capacity for 2,100 tons of cheese, cheese processing lines and a dispatching area. The site is projected to be completed by November 2015.
“I am delighted that the board has decided to completely rebuild the production plant. The fire was a terrible experience for everyone involved. We literally saw our workplace go up in smoke,” says Derrien Jansen, plant manager at Gerkesklooster. “But, even before the fire was over, we’d already started making plans to resume production as soon as possible. Another team looked ahead to the long-term and that has resulted in the approved plan for full reconstruction and modernization.”
Employees of the Gerkesklooster plant have played an important role in the plant’s rapid return to production, working with specialist firms to undertake the work of cleaning and repairs. For example, cheese was produced for the first time on Sept. 3 since the fire, and production of milk powder and Valess resumed in August. Other FrieslandCampina cheese production plants took over part of the cheese production in the interim.
Following completion of the construction work, cheese production at the plant in Gerkesklooster will return to its original volume of approximately 57,000 ton of cheese per year. The location employs 175 people.