Apple giant T&G will build a $100 million packhouse which the company says will be the biggest of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
Construction is getting under way on the new facility at 2 Anderson Rd, Whakatu, and will be 200m by 60m when completed - roughly the size of two football fields.
The company removed an orchard on the site to make way for the packhouse and hopes the project will be completed by April 2023, in time for that year's apple season.
The packaging facility will be largely automated and rely on state-of-the-art technology.
T&G says it will use "redeployment" of workers to help operate the packhouse, and no staff cuts will result from the automated facility.
The company has been investing heavily in its premium Envy brand of apples, which it grows in New Zealand between April and September and the US between October and March.
It wants to ramp up production to meet high demand and has been raising capital in recent months.
Last month, it was announced T&G had sold an existing facility nearby in Whakatu for $79.5m, which it is leasing back on a long-term contract.
As well as building new infrastructure with that money, T&G has been spending millions of dollars reconfiguring its orchards into what is known as 2D orchard systems.
A 2D system allows more rows of apple trees to be planted closer together and also allows hydraladas, which carry apple pickers, to move easily between the trees.
Global chief executive Gareth Edgecombe said the new packhouse on Anderson Rd was part of their overall strategy to grow, and it would be one of the biggest apple packhouses in the world.
"We think it's going to be the biggest facility in the southern hemisphere and one of the biggest packhouses in the world."
He said it would be able to package apples in a variety of ways for exporting.
"Historically most of the apples sold globally have been in-tray [cases] but what we are seeing now is apples are being converted from those trays and put into final consumer packs to be sold in supermarkets," he said.
"Therefore, there is double packaging going on.
"There is opportunity to export in larger bulk formats, with the packaging only to go on at that last mile [before they go to] market."
T&G has two large facilities close by in Whakatu which offer coolstores, packhouses and warehousing.
When the new facility is opened, those existing facilities will be used as coolstores only.
Edgecombe said there would be no staff losses during that transition and the opening of the new packhouse.
"The fact that we are in a growth industry means that we are going to continue to need team members," he said.
"We will see gradual redeployment.
"We are pretty comfortable that we will be able to look after all of our team."