Oji Fibre Solutions

Oji Fibre Solutions (Oji), a leading global producer of pulp, paper and fibre-based packaging, opened its new ultra-modern manufacturing facility for corrugated packaging products at Yatala in South East Queensland in February 2018.

‘Queensland is offering us a huge opportunity for the expansion of our packaging business here in Australia,’ says Dr Jon Ryder, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Oji Fibre Solutions. ‘Part of the reason we came to Queensland is the people, the employment base, the talent pool that we can tap into, and the central location to the client base that we [want] to grow with here in Queensland.’

The Queensland Government and Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund were instrumental in attracting the company to Yatala. Oji was the first manufacturer under the government’s new Industry Attraction Program to locate in Queensland and represents another corporate vote of confidence in Queensland.

This is echoed by Dr Ryder, who says: ‘The Queensland Government has been an absolutely tremendous help. They really are pro-business. They’re commercially astute [and] … the industry attraction program they put together has been fundamental in helping us select Queensland as the best destination for this factory.’

Oji uses the latest manufacturing technology to supply packaging products to end-use markets in Queensland, northern New South Wales and the Northern Territory. The plant opened on 27 February 2018 and is housed in a 5/6 Green Star rated building. The facility created 300 jobs during construction and employed 70 people on opening — an increase on the 50 that were initially planned.

Oji’s General Manager — Packaging Australia, Nicholas Molloy, says the construction and operation of the Yatala facility also creates significant opportunities for surrounding business such as electrical and plumbing services, engineering firms, parts manufacturers, accommodation providers and food suppliers.

‘If we use our Sydney and Melbourne operations as a guide, those businesses interact with up to 50 other businesses within their local areas, so we expect our Yatala operation will do likewise and be a huge support to the local municipality.’

The Yatala site was chosen due to its central location between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and vicinity to key end-use markets. Yatala’s location is also attractive to potential employees and customers in South East Queensland and is less than five minutes from the M1 Pacific Motorway at the heart of key industrial production, warehousing and distribution hubs.

The 2.4 hectare building sits on 5.8 hectares of land, and its green credentials include a rainwater harvesting system which will reduce potable water consumption by 80 per cent; optimum energy efficiency including a 100kW Solar PV System, daylight sensors, and a lighting control system in the warehouse; and building construction per Environmentally Sustainable Design.

Dr Ryder says Oji is also opening three satellite distribution centers in regional Queensland to service the requirements of its customers. The facilities in Mareeba, Bowen and Bundaberg will each employ ten people. Molloy says, ‘There are freight jobs which also flow from this — both long haul and local freight utilising contracted logistics providers.’

Demand for Oji’s corrugated packaging is expected to grow fastest in Queensland, driven by long-term growth in horticulture and meat segments which are well suited to its paper and product specifications. Queensland is already the dominant corrugated container market in Australia for fruit and vegetables and meat.

Oji’s Yatala facility ‘confirms our commitment to grow our business in Australia and New Zealand,’ says Dr Ryder. ’While demand for corrugated packaging in Australia is growing roughly at 2 per cent a year, we expect growth in Queensland to be more than twice that, driven by local and export growth in horticulture, meat and processed food segments which are well suited to Oji’s high-performance products.

‘The market has encouraged us to expand our manufacturing footprint into Queensland to increase competition and we look forward to offering customers more choice.’