Mount Pack & Cool’s Stage 4 expansion is nearing completion on time, on budget and on spec. The addition of a new packhouse fitted with a state of the art packing line and bin curing room, 17 controlled atmosphere (CA) stores and four coolstores make its site at Tauriko the largest individual kiwifruit post-harvest site in New Zealand, employing 600 people.
The investment gives Mount Pack & Cool the capacity to handle 24 million trays of Class 1 kiwifruit across its total site. Managing Director Brendon Lee said there was a sense of pride amongst growers and staff that the development had created such high-quality infrastructure.
“We’ve taken growers through the building and they can see how the investment will benefit them through cost-savings in top-of-the-line, labour-saving technology.”
Export growth drove plans
The kiwifruit industry’s export growth and demand for the Gold variety drove Mount Pack & Cool’s Stage 4 plans to commission a packhouse purpose-built for Gold kiwifruit.
Temperature and humidity will be carefully controlled inside the packhouse to preserve the fruit quality as it moves through the facility and out of CA environment, ensuring there’s no humidity or sweating on the fruit, extending its shelf life.
Packing kiwifruit for growers across the Bay of Plenty, Mount Pack & Cool has been actively growing since construction began at its 6.5ha site in 2017. It started operating in May 2018 with a 23,000sqm custom-designed bin curing room and packhouse, 10 coolstores, 6 pre-coolers and eight CA stores. In May 2020, work was completed on an additional 9 coolstores and six pre-coolers as part of the facility’s Stage 3 development.