Smithfield Foods, Inc., Smithfield, Va., opened the doors to its new distribution center in Tar Heel, N.C., which created approximately 250 new jobs. Smithfield invested more than $100 million into the 500,000-square-foot facility, which boasts blast cell cold storage capabilities.

“We are experiencing an exciting time of growth, and this new distribution center will help us continue to optimize our footprint,” says Kenneth Sullivan, president and CEO. “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.”

The Tar Heel distribution center, which began construction in April 2017, will begin making shipments and become fully operational by January 2019.

The new facility features nearly 50,000 pallet positions and delivers an annual capacity of more than 1 billion pounds. It will also optimize Smithfield Food’s transportation and distribution network to lower fuel usage, cut transportation costs and improve delivery times. It is located adjacent to one of the company’s meat processing facilities, which produces fresh pork products for U.S. and international customers.

“This new distribution center exemplifies Smithfield’s unwavering commitment to continuously improving its operations,” says Dennis Organ, senior vice president of supply chain. “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.”