State-of-the-art packhouse commissioned by NZ fruit grower to match growing demand

State-of-the-art packhouse commissioned by NZ fruit grower to match growing demand

With 1.7 Hectares of roof space, the highly automated packhouse will be able to pack more than 125 million kilograms of apples per season once its two-phased construction is complete.

Director of Operations Craig Betty told REX host Dominic George project has taken over three years but is making good progress.

"The first line has gone in," he told George.

"It's not up to full capacity yet but so far so good."

Despite being delayed by roughly a year due to Cyclone Gabrielle, Betty is optimistic the second line of the packhouse will be fully operational in about three years time.

"Hopefully we will have that built and commissioned by 2026."

With demand expected to increase in the coming years, Betty told George their new state-of-the-art facility will be critical in ensuring they can supply apples for as much of their market as possible.

"Envy especially is seen as one of the better apples globally…we've been building our supply to meet that future demand for some time.

"We're at that point now where we need to increase our infrastructure and capacity to be able to cope with the volume that's being planted and is coming on stream."

One thing he is specifically proud of is supporting the local community by retaining all of their permanent staff despite automating a significant portion of the plant's process.

"We are doubling the volume of the plant which means the plant is twice as efficient as what it's mean."

The increased automation means the staff are able to increase output and productivity, making their new facility one of the most efficient in the industry.

"At our previous plant we were packing at about half a bin per person per hour and we are doubling that to a bin per person per hour."

The roughly NZ$100 million packhouse is an investment Betty is excited to see unfold and hopes it will allow T&G Global to supply as many apples as possible in the upcoming seasons.