The parent company of Seatrade International has landed a $602,000 state-backed loan to upgrade its seafood processing and distribution facility at 10 North Front St. in New Bedford.

East Coast Seafood, LLC, will use the loan to buy new scallop and lobster processing equipment, install automation processes, increase packaging options, and adjust order logistics, according to a news release from MassDevelopment.

Seatrade International says the plant upgrades will improve efficiency, product quality, and lead to quicker lead times on order shipments. The news release said the project could create 80 jobs over the next year.

"This loan will help a Massachusetts seafood processing and distribution company, East Coast Seafood, LLC, grow jobs, get products to market more efficiently, and in turn help maintain the Commonwealth's national and global leadership in the seafood industry," said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera in a statement.

"East Coast/Seatrade International continues to be an industry leader, driving innovation on many operational levels for our foodservice and retail club partners," stated Brad Hudson, CEO of East Coast Seafood.

Hudson referred to the "strategic equipment loan" and said the 66,000 square-foot processing facility in New Bedford is state-of-the-art and "one of the most efficient processing lines currently available in the industry." He said advancements in production and in the final food product "remain critical to our partners throughout the supply chain, and we're evolving to meet and exceed expectations."

Established in 1981, East Coast Seafood is a processor and distributor of seafood with three processing facilities in the U.S. and Canada. MassDevelopment is the state's quasi-public finance and development agency, and its mission is to stimulate economic growth in the state.

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