Glass manufacturer Vetropack is cautiously ramping up operations again at its Gostomel plant in Ukraine.

After a stop of just over a year, production of glass packaging is starting up again at Vetropack’s Ukrainian site PrJSC Gostomel near Kyiv.

The production facility had been severely damaged during a Russian military attack at the end of February 2022.

The company began heating up one of two remaining furnaces yesterday.

Vetropack’s Ukrainian site PrJSC Gostomel was severely damaged by a military attack in 2022. Significant clean-up work and repairs have been done.

The first melting furnace will be brought up to temperature and filled, with the first new glass likely to be produced in June.

Pavel Prinko, General Manager of Ukraine and Republic of Moldova Business Unit, said: "For now, we are very happy to be able to resume production.”

Vetropack is initially resuming the production of white glass for food and drinks, as this is where the company sees the greatest demand.

Vetropack began heating up one of the two intact melting furnaces in Gostomel on 25 May 2023. However, first it had to manually extract glass that had solidified in the furnaces.

"The domestic market has slowly been recovering, and many companies are restarting production," continued Prinko.

"We expect demand for glass packaging for food and drinks to increase in 2023 by about 7% vs 2022, which is in line with our production capacity."

The heat-up of the second furnace is set to follow soon.

Safety precautions

The priority in resuming operations is to protect the workforce; the site is prepared for all possible emergency scenarios.

Vetropack has developed various engineering scenarios in an effort to ensure energy supply in the event of blackouts. The company remodeled the electrical distribution system and installed additional generators.

Corresponding contingency plans have also been put in place for possible gas supply disruptions.

139 new employees

Until the outbreak of the war, Vetropack produced a variety of glass packaging with three furnaces and eight production lines at the Ukrainian site.

On 24 February 2022, however, the company had to begin shutting down production for safety reasons.

A short time later, the plant sustained severe damage – one of the three furnaces was destroyed beyond repair.

Due to this damage, the company was forced to cut around two thirds of the approximately 600 jobs at the site.

Vetropack has now hired 139 employees – primarily former staff of the site – to resume production in the newly repaired and cleared plant (see left).

In addition, a foundation set up by the Vetropack Group is disbursing funds to Ukrainian colleagues particularly affected by the war.