Boxing clever with cardboard empire
JAPANESE paper giant Oji is planning a national expansion after opening a $72 million state-of-the-art corrugated cardboard factory in Yatala.
Oji is taking on market leaders Visy and Orora for a bigger share of the $2 billion corrugated cardboard packaging market in Australia after acquiring the Carter Holt Harvey paper business in 2014.
Oji’s new Yatala factory will augment its existing facilities in Melbourne and Sydney, with a fully automated production line that can spit out a kilometre of cardboard every three minutes.
Oji Fibre Solutions national sales and marketing manager Philip Nuttall said the company planned to target customers in Queensland’s horticulture and meat industries, which were benefiting from strong export demand.
Mr Nuttall said a “box is not just a box”, with Oji employing designers to ensure its cartons – that carry everything from mangoes to wagyu steaks – were up to the task. The company had patented some of its manufacturing processes.
“When stacked on top of each other, these boxes have to support the weight of hundreds of kilograms so it is important they can do the job,” he said.
Mr Nuttall said the 25,000sq m Yatala factory employed 70 people, with room to hire more as the company obtained larger clients.
Oji was the first company under the State Government’s new Industry Attraction Program to locate in Queensland.
Queensland is a good location for Oji because it is already the dominant corrugated cardboard container market in Australia for fruit, vegetables and meat.
Oji is the fifth-largest pulp and paper company in the world, with 158 subsidiaries located in 17 countries.
“We are the new kid on the block in Australia but we are part of a big group that is on a growth trajectory,” said Mr Nuttall. “If we get this right, the idea is to replicate (factories like Yatala) around the country.”
Mr Nuttall said the factory used virgin cardboard rather than recycled material to manufacture its cartons. Cardboard sourced from Oji’s New Zealand plantations and paper factories is fed into rolling and corrugating machines once it arrives at Yatala.
Oji will open distribution centres in regional Queensland to service customers including farmers and other food producers.
Oji Fibre Solutions national sales and marketing manager Philip Nuttall at the $72 million state-of-the-art box factory at Yatala.