Exporting success all boxed for Cramlington
A small North East business is building a global reputation as the go-to guys for fish processors that ship products across the world.
CRT Packaging, of Cramlington may be small in numbers, but it enjoys a worldwide reach and an annual turnover of between £6million and £7million a year, while exporting around 20 per cent of its products overseas, particularly to a growing Japanese market.
The company recently signed up for support from the Department for International Trade (DIT) to prepare for expanding its share of the Japanese market, utilising the UK’s Free Trade Agreement with the country, once COVID restrictions begin to ease.
CRT Packaging, created 25 years ago by MD Colin Robinson, is adept at designing and supplying packaging for processing fresh and frozen fish.
Colin said: “When people ask, I say we’re a small independent company designing and supplying carbdboard boxes.
“We started 25 years ago with a typewriter on the dining room table and a car that was clocking up in excess of 65,000 miles a year, but now we have a very loyal customer base throughout the UK and Ireland and have been fortunate to have our products and services appreciated further adfield too.
“Our largest export area, and one we’re hoping to expand once we can get there again, is Japan.
"Normally, I’d travel to Japan three to four times a year and there is always a warm welcome every time I visit.
“The Free Trade Agreement with Japan is ideal for a company like ours, that has established a solid customer base in the country and understands the culture of how to do business over there. I’m looking forward to heading back as soon as we’re allowed.”
CRT has supplied major Japanese processors, in east and west coast ports, with packaging for around 14 years. Mackerel, sardines and other pelagic species are the main product for internal and export markets, with many shipped to Africa and the US.
“We mainly supply the UK market and have distribution warehouses in Blyth, Cramlington, Grimsby and Mid Calder in Scotland,” added Colin, “But we see increasing opportunity in a number of countries, and we’re keen to explore their potential.
“The work we have done with the DIT has been invaluable to us.”