Sykes Seafood is investing EUR40m (US$47.5m) over the next two years to establish a pair of new processing plants in Morocco.

UK-based Sykes, which recently acquired Dutch peer Klaas Puul, plans to build a 25,000 square-metre facility in Morocco’s eastern coastal city of Fnideq to produce cod and haddock products for retailers and foodservice customers in the UK and Europe. The site will manufacture a range of tapas, marinades and ready-to-eat options. It will also make coated shrimp and white-fish products.

A second plant will be constructed next to an existing site in Tangier, described by Sykes as a “unique” project in collaboration with the Mascir Foundation, a Morocco-based academic institute specialising in the recovery of shrimp shells for use in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

Klaas Puul owns the 11,000 square-metre site in Tangier, which became operational in 2014 following a EUR15m investment to build the plant. It also runs two domestic facilities in Volendam and Edam. Sykes, which owns the Artic Royal brand, has two factories, one in Liverpool and the other in Knutsford, Cheshire.

Sykes said the Fnideq plant will help cut shipping times and “food miles”.

“Costs have increased dramatically, and our view is that they are here for the long term and that availability of both raw material and shipping-line bookings has become a clear and present danger to smooth ongoing supply,” Sykes said in a statement.

“At the foot of Europe, we see Morocco as an industry-changing critical advantage, giving our customers complete security of availability so we can react quickly to the changes in demand in our retail and foodservice customer base.”