Timaru company Hilton Haulage has won the contract for transporting products for the new Oceania Dairy plant in Glenavy as the landmark tower crane is being deconstructed on site signalling the project is nearing completion.
The commissioning programme for the plant is scheduled to commence next month and the final handover from the project managers to Oceania Dairy will take place in September.
As part of the landscape since last October, the Favco crane was essential for erecting the 46-metre dryer tower.
Oceania Dairy chief executive Aidan Johnstone said the crane was originally designed for use on oil rigs and converted for use in the dairy factory construction.
"Its deconstruction and removal from site is a great sign of progress as we move towards completion of the factory build," he said.
The company employs 58 staff with the number expected to rise to 70 by the end of the year.
"This doesn't include tanker drivers," Johnstone said. "Hilton Haulage will be collecting milk under contract to Oceania Dairy and they will employ their drivers directly."
Most of the staff have been recruited from the South Canterbury and North Otago regions.
Hilton Haulage chief executive officer Scott Crampton said it was a significant contract for the company. "It adds lots of value with milk collection, transport logistics, warehousing, container transport and moving coal," he said.
Hilton Haulage was in it for the long term and as Synlait contracts ended, drivers would transfer to Oceania with just two new drivers sought.
New trucks would be put in service for Oceania, Crampton said.
Initial dry commissioning work is under way on the chilled water system, the wastewater treatment system and the bore water systems.
The significant boiler construction project is also on schedule for completion in time for the delivery of a range of performance tests that form an integral part of the factory's commissioning.
Final key aspects of the $24 million project also include the completion of the dryer and some site civil works. By May, 46 suppliers had signed contracts with Oceania for the supply of 160 million litres of milk in the 2014-15 season.
At full capacity, the plant will be capable of processing 300m litres of milk per year, generating 47,000 tonnes of milk powder.
- The Timaru Herald