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Growth & Jobs | Cari-Med opens distribution centre in Bernard Lodge

- To recruit 60 per cent of workforce from the community

Published:Tuesday | January 31, 2023 | 12:57 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) is briefed by inbound supervisor, Cari-Med Group, Christopher Meikle (second right), during a tour of the company’s new distribution centre in Bernard Lodge, St Catherine, which was officially opened on Friday, Janu
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) is briefed by inbound supervisor, Cari-Med Group, Christopher Meikle (second right), during a tour of the company’s new distribution centre in Bernard Lodge, St Catherine, which was officially opened on Friday, January 27. Others (from left) are co-Founders, Cari-Med Group, Marva and Glen Christian, and Custos Rotulorum for St Catherine, Icilyn Golding.

The Cari-Med Group has committed to recruiting residents of Bernard Lodge in St Catherine to fill 60 per cent of the workforce required for the entity’s new state-of-the-art warehouse distribution centre situated in the community.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness officially opened Phase 1 of the 258,000 square feet facility during a ceremony on Friday, January 27.

The phase, which was constructed at a cost of over $6 billion, will consolidate all of the group’s warehousing activities and the administrative offices for the Consumer Goods Division.

Holness, in delivering the keynote address, welcomed Cari-Med’s announcement, describing it as a “strategic move”, noting that “with other entities that have relocated to this area, we are now creating an industrial cluster in the parish.”

“It also indicates clearly the confidence that the principals of the company have in the direction of the economy and the Government. We welcome their confidence and continued investment,” he said.

He emphasised that Jamaica is on a “growth path”, with the country’s net international reserves at $3.98 billion, which is 27 per cent higher than the pre-COVID period.

“Our economy grew by 5.9 per cent in the third quarter of this [2022-23] financial year, and this is significant because we are now returning to growth immediately after the COVID pandemic. We would now have recorded six consecutive quarters of growth,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Cari-Med Group chairman Glen Christian, in his remarks, said the company would continue to develop a larger portfolio of over-the-counter (OTC) products.

“We want to drive exports for all products in the diaspora and in the Caribbean. We want to continue to train and develop our best assets, which are not on our balance sheets, [but] our employees,” he said.

Christian disclosed that the group has provided over 1,000 jobs for 800 employees on staff as well as several contractors.

He said the new distribution centre had been projected to be occupied by November 2020, but this was delayed by the pandemic. Construction of Phase 2 will begin in April.

The Cari-Med Group was established in October 1986 and comprises Cari-Med Distributors, Kirk-FP Distributors, and Cari-Med International, which is the entity’s export arm.