Investment delivers huge growth for Mpac

Investment delivers huge growth for Mpac
The installation of a new MAFRODA packing machine has revolutionised the capacity at Mpac’s Tauriko facility.

Mount Pack and Cool (Mpac) was formed 10 years ago, at the time processing 2.5 mil-lion trays of kiwifruit a year. Over the past decade, volumes have increased significantly, with the company processing a record 9 million trays in 2019.General manager of operations at the company, Brendon Lee, says that the growth is due to a number of factors.
“The sheer volume of new kiwifruit orchards in the greater Bay of Plenty has contributed to some of our growth but most of the growth can be attributed to increasing our market share of the industry volume which we’ve achieved through delivering industry leading results for our growers in terms of handling their kiwifruit and the cost of our services,” Brendon explains.
He also puts the growth in business down to operating flexibly to meet varied harvesting times. Back in 2016 the bold decision was made to future-proof the business to increase volumes and coolstore capacity building a brand new purpose-built facility at Tauriko in The Lakes district which opened in 2018
“The company purchased a 65,000sqm site and built a 25,000sqm post-harvest facility and we’re about to embark on stage three building an additional 13,000sqm of coolstores. “We’ve invested heavily in the best processing and storage technology and as a result, we’re aiming to process 12 million trays in 2020.”
Brendon says the installation of a new MA-FRODA packing machine at the Tauriko facility has revolutionised the plant’s capacity, with softer fruit handling and automation like Global Scan which is a special camera bagging 20 shots of kiwifruit every second.
“As a result, we repositioned our team into other roles and as the company has grown, staff have been employed in other areas of the packing line,” he says.
“Managing director Jan Benes and I were closely involved in the design of the packing machine and coolstore refrigeration, with many custom-design features unique to Mpac that ensured we got exactly what we and our growers needed.”In the peak of the kiwifruit season, the company employs more than 500 staff, with a core permanent group of 60.
The increase is achieved by bringing in seasonal workers from overseas and using local casual resources, some of whom, have been employed by Mpac for multiple seasons.

Investment delivers huge growth for Mpac
Mpac’s new purpose-built facility at Tauriko opened in 2018 and includes a 25,000sqm post-harvest facility.

Even with the addition of the new cool-stores, there is still a surplus of land to meet future growth and this was one of the key drivers in the decision to relocate.“When we have fully developed the site, it will be capable of packing 22 million trays, to meet our long-term growth goals.
“We also chose the piece of land because the ground conditions were very stable and were able to support the heavy structures inside the processing and storage facilities.”Over 95% of the fruit is exported, making the location ideal with the port facilities close by.
“It also works for our team being close to Tauranga, unlike other kiwifruit facilities which are scattered further away from the city centre. “It makes it easier for staff in terms of travel and distance.”
The unique design of the plant means the fruit only travel in one direction. Brendon says this has a positive impact on the cost of processing the fruit from start to finish reducing the number of staff required to handle the fruit throughout grading, packing and storage.
“Our grower receive two direct benefits from this. Mpac has the most cost competitive charges and best industry fruit loss performance, giving Mpac growers the highest orchard gate returns which is what every grower is looking to achieve .”
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