A PACKAGING firm plans to double in size by creating up to 60 new jobs.

Shalam, on the Bentalls industrial estate in Basildon, has put forward plans to build a multimillion-pound plant on the same site as its existing building.

Bosses at the company, which makes packaging for food and other goods, believe the proposals will not only boost the borough’s economy by creating more employment, but will allow it to double their production.

The firm has already benefited from a £10million boost from its Israeli owner and makes packaging for major firms like Haribo, Silverspoon, Homepride and Unibond.

In the last week, it has secured a major contract, worth £1.5million a year, to provide packaging for Unibond, which makes DIY products. Operations director Steven Burrow, who owns a share of Shalam, said his firm was determined to see the plans go through.

He said: “We are already employing local people as our plant runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we only close at Christmas.

“This will enable us to employ even more, with as many as 50 to 60 new jobs created.

“It’s really good for Basildon to have such big companies here, like us and the tractor plant, and this will just add to that.

“We are here for the long term and will continue to bring investment here.”

Under the plans, which have been submitted to Basildon Council's planning department, the company is proposing to extend the production plant.

If it gets the go ahead, the new warehouse would be capable of storing as many as 4,000 pallets of finished containers.

The extension would be to the east of the firm’s existing warehouse and would stand 31m high.

Mr Burrow originally owned a firm, called SP Packaging, which was based in Basildon’s Honywood Road business park and had three other factories in Romford.

Four years ago, Mr Burrow’s firm was purchased by Israeli firm Shalam Packaging, which is one of the leading global manufacturers of plastic containers for food, chemicals, detergents and paint.

The application is expected to be considered by the council in July.