Food distribution company invests in hub

21:00, May 02 2014

A New Zealand food transport company will invest $6 million in building a large scale distribution centre on the edge of Palmerston North.

Provida Foods' new 3000 square metre coolstore, freight centre and offices will be located at the top end of El Prado Drive in the North East Industrial Block.

Resource consent has been granted and building of the first phase of the platform will begin next week.

Once fully operational, Provida principals Adrienne and Gerald Hudson say the centre will mirror its Hamilton operation, which employs 105 staff and runs at all hours of the day and night.

"Initially we'll have 25 staff but we're building this for the long term," Adrienne Hudson said.

Provida's arrival is a coup for the Palmerston North City Council, Spearhead Manawatu, and Professionals commercial manager Steve Williams, who helped negotiate the company's move.


Spearhead Manawatu manager Craig Nash said the company's choice of Palmerston North further backed up the strategy of selling the city as a distribution hub.

The distribution industry in the city had been growing at double the national average over the past 10 years, he said.

"It helps that they're also a really top operator. I think they'll be an excellent contributor to our business fraternity."

Provida is owned by the Bearhous Family Trust. It supplies to food service outlets - restaurants, takeaway bars and caterers - and provides a refrigerated freight service for several major food manufacturers into supermarkets, distributors and food outlets.

The business employs 144 staff - 105 in Hamilton, 24 in Auckland and 15 in Mount Maunganui.

"We're a unique company in that we do both freight and food service together," Gerald Hudson said.

The Hudsons said their application for resource consent had taken just three weeks, and they were delighted with the reception they have been given by the city overall.

"We have to be open by October because in the silly season our volumes are up 50 per cent on a normal month, and people have bent over backwards to help make that happen," Adrienne Hudson said.

"When we tried to do the same thing in Auckland it was like the council were trying to stop us."

The 57-65 El Prado Drive site, near EziBuy's distribution headquarters, is 1.15 hectares in area and Provida bought it off Argosy Property Ltd in March for $1.27 million.

The company had chosen Palmerston North because it was progressive, a hub for Taranaki, Hawke's Bay and Wellington, and because it had students who it could hire during peak times.

"We would hope to be the preferred supplier to many businesses in the region and preferred refrigerated freighter for manufacturing wishing to service the lower North Island," Adrienne Hudson said.

"The trucks have been ordered and we are organised to get underway. We look forward to being a part of the strategic growth of Palmerston North."

Manawatu Standard