TORONTO, Ontario – Maple Leaf Foods plans to lease a 282,000 sq.-ft. distribution center that will serve as the company’s prepared meats hub for central and eastern Canada.

Puslinch Township, in the County of Wellington, will be the location for the center, which will combine ambient, refrigerated and frozen products into one facility, according to Maple Leaf Foods. The company will lease the facility from a third-party investor that will build and own the center. The location is ideal for Maple Leaf because it is close the company’s eastern prepared meats facilities including the 402,000 sq. ft. facility current under construction in Hamilton, Ontario.

"This is another important step in the implementation of our value creation plan, details of which were announced in October 2011," said Michael McCain, president and chief executive officer, Maple Leaf Foods. "This new facility will simplify our distribution network and significantly increase our supply chain efficiencies."

The center will be commissioned in the first half of 2013, with the consolidation of its existing distribution centers in Moncton, Burlington, and Kitchener to be completed by 2014, according to the company.