TFI’s new Murray Bridge plant starts to rise from the ground + VIDEO

Sheep Central, September 25, 2021

TFI’s group engineering manager Nekta Nicolaou checks progress on the new processing site near Murray Bridge


CONSTRUCTION of Thomas Foods International’s new meat processing plant in South Australia’s south-east corner has reached a new milestone, with the first above-ground building works starting recently.

The new facility has been designed to service the global operations of Thomas Foods International for decades to come and replaces the company’s original plant which was destroyed by fire in January 2018.

Construction and commissioning of Stage One of the project is expected to be a 24-month process with the build expected to be finished late next year.

The centrepiece of the new flagship facility soaring 10-storeys high, the facility’s automated packaging building is being erected as part of more than 1700 tonnes of steelworks earmarked for the development.

As the highest structure to be located on site, the packaging building will have capacity to store 40,000 cartons of frozen and chilled meat using an automated Dematic storage and retrieval system, and will feature the latest in automation and robotics technology.

It is a key component of the world-class facility being built on the once-empty paddock located 10km from the Murray Bridge town centre.

Stage One of the development will include:

  • Beef processing and animal handling facilities
  • Beef boning room with automated packaging technology
  • Stockyards
  • Employee amenities and administration facilities
  • Wastewater treatment plant
  • Automated carton chilling, freezing and storage systems, and
  • Electrical, refrigeration and boiler systems to the highest energy efficiency standards.

Subsequent stages will include the addition of smallstock (sheep and lamb) processing facilities and further expansion of the beef facilities.

TFI’s group engineering manager Nekta Nicolaou said the level of visible construction activity on site would grow markedly over coming months.

“Up until now, much of the activity on site has been focussed on initial earthworks and the pouring of concrete footings and foundation,” he said.

Two large lagoons have also been excavated for the plant’s wastewater treatment plant. In total 180,000 cubic metres of soil is being moved around within the site as part of levelling earthworks, avoiding the need to import or export additional amounts.

“About 13,500 cubic metres of concrete is being laid and from this solid base the plant is beginning to emerge from the ground up,” Mr Nicolaou said.

“It’s now when you can start to picture the full magnitude of this build and it’s exciting to see. This site will become a hive of activity over the months ahead as the build continues to progress as planned.”

TFI is working closely with other family companies as part of the project. These include Badge Constructions, South Australia’s largest private commercial contractor and one of Australia’s largest privately-owned builders, which has been engaged for the design and construction of Stage One. South Australian family-owned business Ahrens is supplying steel for the project.

Recruitment process underway

TFI has started a recruitment process for the first management positions for the Murray Bridge operations. The company is currently seeking a Quality Assurance Manager (see advertisement appearing currently on Beef Central) and a Group Environmental & Sustainability Manager for the new facility. For information on the roles, click here. 

More key management position openings are expected to be announced over coming months before recruitment for processing positions begins in 2022.

Thomas Foods International is headquartered in South Australia with operations across Australia and in key international locations. The business specialises in lamb and beef processing and distribution globally across the retail, wholesale and food service sectors.

Click link below to view a short video of the site development.








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