UK-based packaging solutions provider DS Smith has invested €16.7m ($19.8m) to expand and upgrade its Arnstadt facility in Thuringia, Germany.

With this investment, the company aims to better serve the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and e-commerce sectors. It will also reduce the amounts of energy used and paper waste generated during production.

The project involves installing an advanced corrugator at the plant, which will help save 154t of CO₂ a year compared to the previous corrugator.

The facility will also be equipped with two new automated conveyor systems for internal transport automation, as well as another intermediate storage facility.

DS Smith packaging Germany and Switzerland managing director Uwe Väth said: “We are very pleased that the expansion of our plant in Thuringia will enable us to significantly expand our offering for our customers in the e-commerce and fast-moving consumer goods sectors.

“We have been recording steady growth in both areas for some time, which was also supported last year in particular by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on purchasing behaviour. All forecasts, as well as our own market surveys, indicate that online retail will continue to grow in the future.

“With our innovative, material-optimised packaging made of fully recyclable corrugated board, we offer our customers precisely the sustainable products that are also increasingly preferred by end consumers.”

The project, which is in keeping with DS Smith’s new ‘Now and Next’ sustainability strategy, is currently underway and is expected to continue for 12 months.

In the meantime, production at the facility will continue alongside the work.

Last month, DS Smith announced that it would invest in two new advanced packaging sites in Europe.

The company said that the facilities in Belchatov, Poland, and Castelfranco Emilia, Italy, were expected to improve the local economy.