Cott Corporation's US subsidiary has begun shipping from its new manufacturing facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The 508,000 square foot plant, the largest plant in Cott's global operations, is operating two high-speed PET lines, producing retailer brand carbonated soft drinks and purified drinking water for customers in Texas and the southern US. The plant is expected to be fully operational by the end of the summer with two PET lines and one can line.

"We're right on schedule for shipping product from our new plant and I'm very pleased with the progress Bob Flaherty and his team have made in Fort Worth," said John Sheppard, president and CEO of Cott. "This is a key component in the capacity action plan we announced last year that will help us meet the growing needs of our customers today and into the future."

Construction of the Fort Worth facility began in November last year. There are currently 25 full-time employees, although this number is expected to grow to approximately 100 when the plant operates at full production capacity. Fort Worth will have a 40m case capacity. The company expects to produce 6m cases in fiscal 2005 and 25m cases in 2006, growing to 40m in 2007 and beyond.

"A project of this scope and size can present real challenges but the start-up of this new plant has moved forward without any significant issues," added Drew Maltese, plant manager in Fort Worth. "We're looking forward to increasing the number of employees and better servicing our customers as the remaining two lines are transitioned into production later this summer."