Finnish sustainable packaging provider Huhtamaki is developing a fibre packaging manufacturing facility in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Due to begin operations later this year, the facility will serve the company’s existing and new egg packaging customers in the province.

Huhtamaki’s facility will be located near one of South Africa’s main export ports in order to facilitate exports to customers in East Africa.

Once fully operational, the facility is expected to generate around 30 jobs.

Huhtamaki Europe-Asia-Oceania fibre foodservice president Eric Le Lay said: “The addition of a unit in KwaZulu-Natal is an important addition to our fibre packaging footprint in South Africa.

“It will not only provide efficiencies in our service to customers in South Africa, but an additional benefit in terms of proximity to a major port that will drive access to markets across East Africa.

“The new facility sets us up to better meet the growth of the fibre packaging sector and future demand for sustainable packaging. It also strengthens our position in the region significantly.”

Huhtamaki has operated in South Africa since 2000. With this investment, the company has enhanced its commitment to the growing customer bases in South Africa and East Africa.

The company currently operates four manufacturing units, where it produces fibre packaging for eggs and fruits, foodservice packaging and flexible packaging. It employs around 530 people in these facilities.

Last month, Huhtamaki agreed to buy assets of China-based packaging manufacturer Jiangsu Hihio-Art Packaging in a €27m ($32.5m) debt-free transaction.

Jiangsu Hihio-Art produces paper bags, wraps and folding carton packaging for international quick-service restaurants and domestic bakery chains.

The acquisition is intended to allow Huhtamaki to increase its product portfolio in China and build its position as a foodservice packaging provider in Asia.