N&A Group and Plunkett Orchards join forces
The N&A Group & Plunkett Orchards are further strengthening their relationship with an arrangement that will see 100% of the N&A Group’s Batlow, NSW production volume packed at Plunkett Orchards’ brand new, state of the art packing facility in Ardmona, VIC. The new arrangement will also mean that the combined domestic market output from the new facilities will be marketed and distributed exclusively by the N&A Group.
Plunkett Orchards, one of the most progressive tree fruit companies in Victoria, is building arguably one of the largest and most technically advanced packing facilities in Australia.
With a new 20,000 square metres of buildings being built alongside the existing 25,000 square metre packing shed, the new facility will be able to pack 60,000 tonnes of apples, pears and stone fruit allowing for superior and advanced handling of product. The automated pre-sizing and packing system involves the movement, sorting, palletising and shipping of all packed fruit types with computerised tracking for efficient flow and significant labor savings.
The decision to expand the collaboration is driven by industry trends including vast improvement in technology, capital requirements, the need for production efficiencies both in the orchard and post farm gate, as well as the move towards improved sustainability and reduced environmental footprint.
Rob Cathels, CEO of the N&A Group, discusses partnerships and the consolidation of resources as key to longevity in the dynamic environment that is the fresh produce industry. “For the N&A Group the collaboration will provide further access to industry leading storage and packing technology whilst allowing our orchard operations in Batlow to focus on expanding production in new and improved cultivars, as well as organic production.”
For Plunkett Orchards, “the committed tonnage will assist in increasing the throughput of volumes to optimum levels to further advance packing operational efficiencies”.
Andrew Plunkett, CEO of Plunkett Orchards describes the joining of their operations as “a natural partnership after many years of a strong strategic relationship, resulting in a force that will enhance market transparencies and access for our growers through N&A Group’s network of marketing channels.”
Andrew Plunkett goes on to describe the new packing facility as being “a project spanning 10 years from the planning and development stage through to construction, with the facility due to be completed by the start of 2020’s new apple & pear season.”
Source: Fresh Plaza