Smithfield Foods, Inc., Smithfield, Va., announced plans to build a new distribution center and expand its blast cell cold storage capabilities at its Tar Heel, N.C., processing facility. Smithfield will invest $100 million and add approximately 250 new jobs to bring both projects to life.

"This expansion reflects the promising new era we're experiencing at Smithfield," says Kenneth Sullivan, president and CEO. "It supports our continued growth and helps us better serve our customers by providing additional capacity and optimizing our distribution footprint."

Smithfield will begin construction of the new distribution center this month. The new distribution center will be 500,000 square feet with 47,000 pallet positions. The blast cell cold storage expansion is underway, and will increase the facility's capacity by 140 million pounds. Both projects will be complete fall 2018.

"At Smithfield, we're constantly evaluating strategies to achieve greater operational efficiencies and make our supply chain more sustainable," says Dennis Organ, senior vice president, supply chain and direct-store-delivery. "This project will help us accomplish both goals while better serving our customers in the southeastern U.S."

Smithfield's Tar Heel facility is said to be the largest pork processing plant in the world, and produces fresh pork products for customers across the globe. Currently, the facility employs nearly 5,000 people and processes more than 30,000 hogs a day.