NILAI – The National Beverage Co’s (NBC) Coca-Cola plant in Gaza, Palestine, will start operations next month.
General Manager Imad Hindi said the US$20 million (US$1=RM4.33) plant would be the fourth Coca-Cola plant in Palestine after Jericho, Ramallah and Tulkarem.
“Due to tough logistics and situation in Gaza, we’ve decided to have it in phases.
“The first phase involves producing returnable glass bottles for domestic market, during which we are going to produce Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Light, Sprite and Fanta (orange, green apple and strawberry) in a 250ml bottle,” he told reporters during his visit to Coca-Cola Malaysia in Bandar Enstek here today.
The second phase, which entails producing clean water for hospitals in Gaza, will start in April next year, Imad said, adding that it was meant for charity, not business.
He said phase three, comprising canning and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, would start by end of next year.
“For the canning line, similar to 330ml cans, we’ll be producing Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Light, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta (orange, green apple and strawberry), Sprite and Sprite Light.
“For the PET line, we’re going to have three different sizes, but our main focus will be two litre bottle for Gaza’s consumers besides 1.25 litre bottle and 500ml bottle,” he said.
Imad said by 2017, the Gaza Coca-Cola plant would be operating at full capacity, occupying a floor space of 8,000 square metre, and creating 300 direct jobs and 3,000 indirect jobs.
Set up in 1998 by a group of Palestinian businessmen, NBC took off with a plant in Ramallah with 47 employees.
Today, it employs 400 associates across three bottling plants in Ramallah, Jericho and Tulkarem, and seven distribution centres and indirectly provides 4,000 jobs across its supply chain.
NBC is the largest company in the food and beverage sector in Palestine and is licensed with The Coca-Cola Company to produce high-quality carbonated soft drinks, mineral water and juices.
NBCâ€™s portfolio of products include Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Light, Coca-Cola Zero, Sprite, Sprite Light, Fanta Orange, Fanta Strawberry, Cappy, Arwa, and Jericho.
Coca-Cola is Palestineâ€™s third largest employer and fifth largest investor.
Imad was accompanied by Stephen Lusk, Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, Bottling Investments Group, Singapore, Malaysia & Brunei. – BERNAMA