COLPEX – Serving the Full Fish Oil Pipeline

COLPEX has made a name for itself operating across the fish oil supply chain.

COLPEX is a Peruvian company that specialises in the fish oil industry. It was established in 1995 by three shareholders, all still actively involved in its everyday management. It has become an industry leader among Peruvian fish oil exporters, as well as a producer of semi-refined, fully refined and concentrated fish oils with a high level of Omega-3 fatty acids.

“Our company was founded by engineers and during its 25 years of existence has grown its production while offering high-quality products and added value,” Lazarevic tells us. “It is a joint logistics, production and export company that across runs three business units.”

COLPEX is recognised as an important logistics operator for having a multi-buoy port terminal located in the port of Chimbote, dedicated to crude fish oil logistics and bulk shipments. It can serve tanker ships of 200m in length and has a 20,000MT tank farm storage capacity.

Its refining and concentrating facility is located in Supe and that’s where semi-refined, fully refined and concentrated fish oils are produced, under strict HACCP and GMP standards, in compliance with strict quality controls and procedures.

Last but not least, COLPEX has recently finished implementing a Hydrolysed Fish Protein Concentrates Facility; unique in its kind, that will produce fish protein isolates FPI and fish protein concentrates FPC, as well as crude fish oil, the latter as part of the raw material supply chain for its refinery.

A Refined Operation

The company operates across two facilities in the Peruvian ports of Supe and Chimbote. The strategic locations of these facilities along the Peruvian coast allow for direct access and the best selection of raw materials – essential in COLPEX’s line of work.

The first of those facilities is the Supe Refinery, established in 2009. Here COLPEX processes semi-refined, fully refined and concentrated fish oils. This refinery boasts a specialised storage area for COLPEX’s raw material, crude fish oil, as well as production buildings where the refining and molecular distillation equipment are operated, and warehouses for supplies, packing material and, of course, the finished products.

The Supe Refinery is a HACCP & GMP, MarineTrust, Friends of the Sea, MSC, and ISO 9001 certified facility. It is also compliant with the latest FDA Food Safety Modernisation Act requirements.

It also has an in-house laboratory that has been equipped to fully analyse crude fish oils and finished products, guaranteeing quality control.

“Our engineers have been able to build and design our facility and in 25 years we have implemented technology to the highest levels,” Lazarevic tells us. “That is why we are recognised as one of the most important refined fish oil producers.”

Meanwhile, at one of Peru’s main fishing ports, Chimbote, you can find COLPEX’s port terminal. This terminal features nine tanks for the bulk storage of crude fish oil, with a total capacity of 20,000 MT. The terminal’s multi-buoy berth, located 2,000 meters from the shore, can receive ships with up to 40,000-metric tons of cargo capacity. It has an official customs warehouse, authorised by Peru’s national customs authority, and is a leaving off point for COLPEX and other local producers to load and export crude fish oil in bulk.

This is also where COLPEX’s fleet of tank trucks used for ground transport can be found.

Chimbote port terminal also features an in-house laboratory equipped with the full range of crude fish oil analysis tools and is GMP + Feed Safety Assurance, Marine Trust, and ISO 9001 certified.

Chimbote is also home to the newly built Hydrolysed Fish Protein Concentrates Facility, unique in its kind. This production unit will make fish protein isolates and fish protein concentrates from whole fish, as well as crude fish oil (an additional raw material supply for its Refining Unit), meeting a worldwide growing demand for the consumption of healthy foods with high protein content, as well as healthy fats of marine origin.

“We are a family-owned business with shareholders directly involved in the company management,” Lazarevic explains. “I am the founder of the company and have been working as the CEO for 25 years. It means faster decision making, and that we can offer flexibility to meet our customers’ needs in an ever-changing environment. Our production solution is adapted to customers’ specific needs and requirements.”

Raw Talent

“Considering Peru is the world’s largest high Omega 3 content crude fish oil producer, our strategic location along its coastline guarantees superior finished product quality, thanks to the strategic control we have over the entire supply and production chain, from raw material collection to the finished product. Our refinery’s strategic location allows it to source crude fish oil as soon as it has been produced, reducing unnecessary manipulation and guaranteeing its freshness. And now, with our new Hydrolysed Fish Protein Concentrates Facility (starting production in December 2021), we will also produce our own crude fish oil, raw material that will be processed in our Refinery. This will allow us a unique control over the entire traceability and quality of our products and will grant us a vertical integration towards our raw material supply.”

“A lot of companies face challenges around a lack of raw materials for production, which they source from overseas in places as far afield as Asia,” says Lazarevic. “When you are not in control of raw materials a lack of supply can mean you need to switch to more expensive options, and then the price absorbed by either the producer or customer, making it less profitable or less competitive.”

COLPEX works hand-in-hand with its customers to satisfy their needs and ensure production keeps up with sales.

“Lately around the world, there is concern around disease, and this is leading to profound changes in lifestyle, including a worldwide increase in the consumption of healthy foods. This has been exacerbated in the time of Covid,” Lazarevic says. “COLPEX sees an opportunity here to contribute to good population health with healthy products for mass consumption based on a single species: Peruvian anchovy; that makes up for the largest fishery on the planet.”

In this growing market scenario for healthy products, COLPEX sees an opportunity to contribute to the improvement of the population’s nutrition, and to develop healthy products for mass consumption that contain proteins, fats rich in Omega-3 and macronutrients, which are found in many marine species, among which the anchovy stands out, as a resource of important nutritional and sustainable value.

A Matter of Logistics

COLPEX’s strategic location provides it with a very small logistical challenge in the supply of its raw materials, but the logistical challenge with end customers remains. COLPEX, as the owner of a pumping terminal in Chimbote, manages to partially reduce its logistic costs for bulk exports, and being Peru the largest producer of raw material, the logistical impact on the raw material supply chain, in terms of time and cost is very small, which makes COLPEX more competitive in the sector as well as the market.

“Our company has also adapted its production and lead times, in order to buffer the constantly increasing transit times,” explains Lazarevic. “This has been achieved by working hand in hand with our customers and translating their needs and feedback into our production and shipping schedules.”

But while COLPEX’s facilities and technology are both extensive and maintained to the highest standard, Lazarevic is clear that its people are its most valuable resource.

“We are a family-owned business, so we invest in personal development,” Lazarevic adds. “The goal of each arm of our production is to work as closely as possible with the community and do that as much as possible to develop our staff and train them in specific skills. This methodology has over time proved right as we have been able to build a strong and loyal team, a baseline for any business looking into the future.”

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