Fort duo take a lead roles in Blar Mhor upgrades

With 33 years working for Mowi (then Marine Harvest) Ewan MacColl has remained in the Fort William area.

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Two Fort William men are right at the heart of plans for increased salmon processing capacity at Mowi Scotland’s Blar Mhor facility.

Scott Nolan has returned to his home town and brings his global experience to help lead this major investment.

Scott Nolan has been promoted to processing director and will lead the redevelopment of the site as it looks to build capacity to 80,000 tonnes, while industry veteran Ewan MacColl will continue as logistics director to focus on ensuring further improvements to the company’s supply chain as the business gears up to increase volume and tackle challenges related to Brexit.

Both men were raised and schooled in the town and MacColl, who has more than 33 years’ experience with processing and logistics commented: ‘In a challenging year with the pandemic and Brexit in combination, we have been pleased with the reliability and resilience of our logistics chain.

‘However, as we increase volumes we need to ensure that all elements of our supply chain are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible in a way that promotes
environmental sustainability, such that we are prepared for whatever the next challenges might be.’

The Blar Mhor team in 2019.

Speaking about the company’s sustainable development growth plans toward 80,000 tonnes over the coming years Mowi COO Ben Hadfield states: ‘Demand for premium Scottish salmon remains strong and is expected to increase year on year.

‘Mowi has been independently ranked as the world’s most sustainable animal protein producer and expansion at our Blar Mhor facility will reduce packaging and plastics – key fundamentals that increase consumer confidence in our salmon.

‘We are very pleased with Mowi’s board decision to invest further in our farming and processing operations in Scotland.’

In response to restricted capacity at its Blar Mhor plant, the company announced in
May 2019 a strategic review of processing alternatives, including the construction of a
new build at a new location. However the expansion and increased automation at the
existing site was determined to be the most compelling business case.

New signs mark a new era for the Blar Mhor facility.

Mr. Hadfield added: ‘Since returning to Mowi in 2020 after spending 14 years in Australia leading processing and sales with Huon Aquaculture and three years as managing director for Aquatiq Australia and New Zealand, Scott has been instrumental in the design project for the Blar and as processing director will oversee all harvesting and processing operations and this expansion project which is due to be completed in the second half of 2022.’

The planning process will start in the coming weeks with a view to building work starting in 2021.

The Blar Mhor expansion will utilise state-of-the-art robotic technologies for handling and grading salmon and much of the work will be undertaken without closure of the facility.