Manufacturing News

South Asian community focuses on food production

April 1, 2009
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This rendering shows the main entrance to the Pearl City Food Port that will contain 20 or more food processing companies. Source: SSOE

For food processors with their sights set on exporting product to the Far East and China, it’s essential to locate to a site that is not only conducive to lower export and shipping costs, but also one that offers compelling incentives. Working with both the provincial and national governments, India-based Consolidated Construction Consortium Ltd. (CCCL) is constructing a planned community designed to contain 20 or more food manufacturing companies, a housing development, retail complex, hospital, school and 18-hole golf course-on 436 acres near Tuticorin, a port on the southeast coast of India. 

CCCL chose SSOE Inc. to design the community, Pearl City Food Port, from a clean slate. Besides seaport access, the first-of-its-kind food processing special economic zone (SEZ) with an integrated township is located near airport, rail and road networks. Duty-free/tax-free regulations apply within the SEZ, a controlled access zone requiring customs clearance for incoming raw goods and outgoing finished products as well as individuals entering and exiting the property.

The processing zone will occupy 67% of the total site, and CCCL will lease or sell parcels to food manufacturers. The processing zone will include four food group areas: edible oils, vegetarian, marine/poultry and dry goods/produce (cereal, fruits, juices, vegetables, snacks and pet foods). Each area will be divided into four to six parcels of up to 6.82 acres each.

According to Vince DiPofi, SSOE senior vice president and principal, there aren’t many food plant clusters in India. Careful master planning, he adds, allows processors to share infrastructure and facilities including cold storage, warehouses, food testing labs, irradiation facilities, logistics planning and uninterrupted power and water.

The project must be commercialized within a three-year period once official SEZ status has been granted. At full capacity there could be as many as 1,500 to 2,000 people living in the self-contained, self-supporting westernized community.

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