Fatliquor and finishing oils specialists, Salem Oil & Grease are to out-source their production to a new plant in Canada. The company, founded in 1909, will gradually wind-down production at their current site in Salem, Massachusetts, USA, and shift production to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

‘More and more of our business is now carried out overseas’, says Gary Hanson, president. ‘The town of Salem is becoming less of a desirable place for a chemical factory, especially as we are located close to a residential area. Once the site has been sold for re-development, the owners of the company want to move the remainder of the production to Canada where land, shipping and employment are more advantageous.’

Salem will continue to operate a sales and administration office and warehouse in the Massachusetts Bay area. The production staff will not transfer to the new site and will either retire or be offered retraining through a special Nafta retraining programme obtained by Salem. Some sales and administration staff will transfer to the new office.

The new plant in Canada is already up and running, producing leather chemicals for Salem’s customers and the new US office and warehouse is anticipated to be operating within a year.

Despite the relocation of the site, Salem Oil & Grease have been continuing to develop new products. Currently, they are working on a new bisulfited oil for softy and automotive upholstery leathers.

Development of a new oily pull-up compound is in the latter stages and will be launched soon. The new product produces pull-up leather which is dryer and cleaner than existing products. They have updated a number of their existing products and have been experimenting with new application techniques with some of finishing oils and waxes.

Much of the company’s business has transferred away from the USA to markets such as China, Taiwan, Korea and Mexico. Exports now account for 65-70% of their business.