Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
TRADE Kings Zimbabwe, a local fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturer and distributor, expects to complete construction of its paste detergent plant by end of this month, an executive has said.
The paste plant is, however, behind schedule due to recent delays encountered with customs clearing of critical spares and equipment imported from South Africa at the Beitbridge Border Post.
“The smaller detergent paste plant will be commissioned in February 2018, following significant delays experienced in clearing critical spares and equipment from South Africa,” Sayed Mahmed, the company’s managing director said.
Mr Mahmed said had it not been for delays in customs clearing, the paste plant would be complete, although shortage of foreign currency for raw material imports has emerged as another thorny issue.
The paste plant was delayed by down time experienced by Zimra on its internet-based customs clearing system known as the Asycuda. The paste plant comes as Trade Kings completed a larger detergent powder manufacturing plant, commissioned in October last year.
The plant managed production of approximately 200 tonnes of high quality detergent powder produced during trial runs at that time. The company made a decision to establish a local manufacturing plant following overwhelming and sustained demand for products it imported from Zambia and distributed in Zimbabwe.
Its detergent pastes are Boom, Xtra and Bullet and powders, which have proved to be popular in the region. The firm also produces a range of leading brands in terms of laundry soaps, household products, confectioneries, carbolic and snacks.
Trade Kings Zimbabwe’s plants will generate much needed foreign currency for the country while local production will also reduce the country’s current reliance on imported detergent products. Construction of the plant as well as installations were done through local contractors under the supervision of Desmet Ballestra S.p.A, global leaders in spray drying and detergent technology.
Ballestra designed and supplied all the process machinery within the powder plant that will be used to make detergent powder. The design of the plant is centred on efficiency and product quality. Completion of the powder and paste manufacturing plants will add to other support infrastructure Trade Kings had already put in place under the project.
Buildings, warehouses and offices have already been completed together with supporting infrastructure such as boiler house, access roads, transformers, chemical and fuel storage tanks, coal yard, back-up generators and raw material preparation areas Further, various packaging lines for boxes, pouches and buckets were commissioned in September 2017 for the two detergents plants.
“At full capacity the plants will employ between 400 and 500 people, the majority of which will be involved in production and develop skills associated with state of the art technology and machinery,” he said.
The two plants have capacity to supply both the local market and regional export markets, and position Trade Kings Zimbabwe as the only large-scale manufacturer of detergents within Zimbabwe. The total cost of Trade Kings project inclusive of construction, infrastructure, machinery, raw materials and commissioning is approximately $20 million.
The investment into local detergent manufacturing is in consonant with Government’s blueprint under Zim-Asset and in September 2015 the project was granted National Project Status.