Around $100m will help build a new logistics hub and increase cold storage room at the Tar Heel plant, North Carolina, described by Smithfield as the world’s biggest pork processing factory.
Construction at the company’s flagship factory will begin this month, while expansion of Smithfield’s blast cell cold storage is already under way. Both will significantly bolster Smithfield Foods, one of the largest pork processors in the world.
The distribution centre will be 500,000 square feet and the company will be able to store 47,000 pallets packed with food. Increasing cold storage means Smithfield could store an extra 140 million pounds of meat upon completion of both projects in autumn 2018.
“This expansion reflects the promising new era we’re experiencing at Smithfield,” said Kenneth Sullivan, CEO at Smithfield Foods.
“It supports our continued growth and helps us better serve our customers by providing additional capacity and optimising our distribution footprint.”
Smithfield’s Tar Heel plant already boasts a workforce of 5,000 and processes around 30,000 pigs per day. This is a huge throughput when you consider one of Europe’s largest pork slaughterhouses, Danish Crown’s plant in Horsens, has a weekly kill rate of 100,000 pigs per week.
“At Smithfield, we’re constantly evaluating strategies to achieve greater operational efficiencies and make our supply chain more sustainable,” said Dennis Organ, senior vice-president of supply chain and direct store delivery at Smithfield Foods.
“This project will help us accomplish both goals while better serving our customers in the south-eastern US.”
Smithfield Foods, owned by Chinese meat giant WH Group, is a $15bn food company and has been expanding steadily over the summer, acquiring three Polish meat plants and Kansas City Sausage Company for undisclosed sums.