This expansion represents the latest installment of a two-year infrastructure investment at the site, which manufactures a range of products including cheese, milk powder, protein and lactic casein ingredients.
More than NZ$50m has now been ploughed into the facility following a NZ$23m ($18m) upgrade of the plants' cool stores last year,
Fonterra expects to complete the dry distribution centre expansion by August 2014.
The company is confident that the investment will solve logistical limitations caused by the continually increasing milk processing capacity at Whareroa. These constraints currently require moving loads between sites throughout the production process.
“This investment at our Whareroa facility will improve our logistics network’s storage capacity and address existing capacity constraints in the region," said Fonterra Director of Logistics, Mark Leslie.
“This means we are able to reduce the number of freight movements from where a product is manufactured through to delivery to the customer which reduces our carbon footprint and ultimately saves on transport costs,” he said.
Streamlining the process will also allow the Whareroa plants to process dairy products in greater volume, the company claimed.
“These investments are part of a strategy to deliver more products, more directly to ports for export.
“Our capacity to process milk continues to increase, which means that our storage capacity must grow to meet this. Where possible we want to store product at the point of manufacture to reduce costs,” says Leslie.
This storage expansion follows investment at four other Fonterra facilities since 2008.
Most recently, the company financed the installation of a new rail line to transport processed milk from the Darfield site to ports in Christchurch, from where it is exported to Asia and the Middle East.