US-based meat processing company Smithfield Foods has opened its distribution centre in Tar Heel, North Carolina, US.

Plans for the centre were originally announced in August 2017.

Built with an investment of more $100m, Smithfield’s 500,000ft² facility features an expanded blast cell cold storage unit, which is expected to further strengthen the company’s supply chain to better serve customers globally.

Additionally, the facility is expected to create nearly 250 employment opportunities.

Smithfield Foods president and CEO Kenneth Sullivan said: “We are experiencing an exciting time of growth, and this new distribution centre will help us continue to optimise our footprint.

“We’re reducing the distance our products travel, which shrinks our carbon footprint and positions us to achieve our long-term sustainability goals.”

“More than 10,000 Smithfield Family members already call North Carolina home, and we’re proud that our investment in this project will create even more jobs. We look forward to welcoming new employees into our family.”

Located adjacent to one of the Smithfield’s meat processing facilities, the distribution centre can accommodate nearly 50,000 pallet positions and has an annual capacity of more than one billion lbs of products.

With the opening of its distribution centre, the company aims to optimise its transportation and distribution network, cut transportation costs and improve delivery times.

Smithfield Foods supply chain senior vice-president Dennis Organ said: “This new distribution centre exemplifies Smithfield’s unwavering commitment to continuously improving its operations.

“While providing best-in-class customer service, we’re reducing the distance our products travel, which shrinks our carbon footprint and positions us to achieve our long-term sustainability goals.”

The distribution centre will be fully operational by January.