A new timber packaging company has set up in Hawke's Bay in time for a hectic harvest season.
More than 400,000 pallets and crates are expected to be used over the next four to six months for the produce harvest season.
The Pallet Company has opened a bin, pallet and crate manufacturing plant in Pandora, Napier, and has secured key contracts in the pipfruit and stone-fruit sectors.
Managing director Nick Barton said the decision to set up in Hawke's Bay was an obvious expansion for the award-winning business with plants in Auckland and Tauranga.
"Establishing a large site designed with specialist machinery gives us the opportunity to customise and streamline the manufacture of the products needed for this particular market," he said.
"Hawke's Bay is the largest producer of apples. Growers and marketers need certainty in the availability and quality of bins and pallets when fruit is harvested.
"Our other plants allow us considerable flexibility to meet the heavy market demands throughout the harvest season."
Former Hawke's Bay rugby representative Terrence Taylor, who has been in the timber industry for years, will manage the Napier operation. He will be supported by Richard Kinnear.
Mr Taylor said the company decided to set up in Napier due to its close proximity to its major timber supplier Pan Pac and to Napier Port. The Pallet Company was the 2012 Supreme Award winner in the Westpac Auckland West Business Awards. They also scooped the Canam Group Excellence in Innovation and Improvement and the Rosebank Business Association Excellence in Sustainable Success.
The company was established in 1995 by Nick Barton and has grown into one of New Zealand's largest manufacturers of new pallets and crates.
The company has spent more than $5 million on the installation of an automated cutting and specialist production line in Auckland that enables the company to produce 2500 pallets per eight-hour shift.