Bayside branch of international company to undergo $4.2 million expansion

Kathy Bockus/Courier Kloosterboer Bayside will undergo a $4.2 million expansion to its cold storage facility at the Port of Bayside this year. General manager Manny Estrada said the 15,000 square foot addition is expected to be completed by September. Kloosterboer ships frozen fish to points throughout the United States and Europe through its Bayside facility.

Bayside – Kloosterboer, an international warehouse and logistics company based in The Netherlands, has embarked on a $4.2 million expansion to its cold storage and shipping facility at the Port of Bayside.

Groundbreaking for the approximate 15,000 square foot expansion took place Monday. The expansion will be incorporated into the existing structure, and is expected to be operational by September.
Manny Estrada, general manager of Kloosterboer Bayside, said the facility can currently store, at -23 degrees, 10,000 tonnes of processed, packaged and frozen fish and other local goods such as lobster and blueberries.

“With the expansion we will be able to hold another 5,000 tonnes.”
When ships arrive, workers can unload, tag and store about 3,000 tonnes in a 24-hour period, he said.
Estrada noted with the exception of the structure’s exterior panels, which will be created and shipped from Europe, the building materials and labour will be sourced from New Brunswick.

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Hickey Brothers of Saint John have been subcontracted as the builders, the steel for the skeletal frame is sourced from Fredericton, refrigeration will be done by a Moncton company, and the foundation and concrete work will be completed by a Saint John company. Labour will be sourced locally where possibly, said Estrada.

Estrada said Kloosterboer has been part of the Port of Bayside with American and Canadian partners since 2008. In 2016, Kloosterboer bought out those partners, which gave it the freedom to initiate changes in technology and innovation to bring the local business closer to the operational standards it uses in Europe.
Kloosterboer has 16 facilities across Europe and four in North America – Dutch Harbour, Alaska, Seattle, WA, Texas, and Bayside.

While the company does ship a variety of products, including frozen food from New Brunswick companies and juices from a well known North American brand, its specialty throughout the company is the shipment of frozen fish.

Estrada said the fish – primarily Pollock – is caught, processed and packaged in Alaska, and makes a 21-day journey from Dutch Harbour to Bayside. Here about half the cargo is offloaded for storage before the ship continues to Europe. About 90 per cent of the fish offloaded at Bayside is then shipped by truck and rail to the United States (Wisconsin, Virginia, New York, and Georgia). The rest is distributed to Canada. The fish which arrives in Bayside is used by popular fast food restaurants, said Estrada.

In a typical year, 11 ships arrive at the company’s Bayside facility, representing an average of 37,000 tonnes of fish. Estrada said he hopes the expansion will increase the annual tonnage to 45,000 in the 2019 season, with an increased number of ships visiting.
The Bayside branch of the company currently employs 10 full time workers, which Estrada hopes will increase by another three or five with the expansion. It currently employs 25 workers seasonally.

Estrada has been at Bayside for three years. He worked in Dutch Harbour for 22 years – 12 years as a fisherman, and 10 years on the docks and in warehousing.
He has been in the shipping industry since 2002 and with Kloosterboer for about 10 of those years.
Estrada said the expansion will create additional revenue for the port and will benefit local businesses such as Storage and Service Solutions in Bayside, owned by Troy Tuddenham.

Estrada said he appreciates that close working relationship, explaining he has used Tuddenham’s facility for the past two years for overflow storage from Kloosterboer’s Bayside facility. Tuddenham said the expansion will be good for the area in jobs and other spin-offs.
Estrada is extremely proud of the operation at Bayside and said the reason for speaking publicly about the expansion was not to advertise the company’s services, but “to advertise we exist” at Bayside.

“We are growing and expanding,” he said. “We provide jobs, competitive paying jobs, opportunities for many who are involved in the transporting of our goods.”

“My mission is to keep growing,” said Estrada.

Bayside port company has link to Deadliest Catch TV show

Charlotte County fans of the television reality show Deadliest Catch may have caught a glimpse of Manny Estrada on one of the episodes.

Or at least a glimpse of his bare legs in the middle of a snowstorm.
Estrada is the general manager of Kloosterboer Bayside, a local warehouse and logistics branch of a European-based company.

He worked for Kloosterboer in Dutch Harbour, Alaska, the port where segments of the reality television show is filmed – interviews with the captains, shots of the crew working the King Crab pots.

The Kloosterboer dock was chosen because it was new and provided a perfect backdrop for the filming.
Estrada wears shorts. Summer, winter, even in blowing snowstorms, his trouser apparel length ends at the knee.

He said Mike Rowe, who narrates the show, was always after him to allow the crew to film him and he always declined.

“For years he said ‘Manny, you’re crazy! Why are you wearing shorts?’” said Estrada.
One morning at 2 a.m., in a blinding snowstorm, one of the ships had to come to shore because of an emergency. The Discovery Channel crew showed up, Estrada arrived (in shorts) because a company representative had to be present when the dock was used.

Estrada said a fellow he had worked with for the past three years, his camera shaking because his hands were so cold, said “Manny, please let me take a shot of your legs.”

“I said just the legs, no more.” Estrada related,
“Six months later, Mike calls me and says ‘Manny, want to hear what I had to say about your legs?’
“Absolutely sir” he said he replied.
“It shows my legs and the snow going sideways,” Estrada said. Rowe’s voice narrates “only in Dutch Harbour.”

He said his association with the show “is cool” and certainly gives him something to talk about, since he still has a direct link to Kloosterboer Dutch Harbour.

“That show has brought more light to Kloosterboer than us being here locally,” he said with a laugh.

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Kathy Bockus
Journalist Kathy Bockus is based in St. Stephen and has worked for The Saint Croix Courier as a general news reporter and feature writer for the past 15 years. She began her lengthy newspaper career in 1974 with a daily in Saint John. Bockus says she always jokes being a reporter is a licence to be nosey, but firmly believes that everyone has a story to tell. She can be contacted at 321-0759.