GREELEY, Colo. — JBS USA has opened a distribution center at the company’s beef-processing plant in Grand Island, Neb. The company said the new facility boasts increased storage and product-handling capabilities intended to enhance customer service.

JBS said it has completed the first phase of construction on a dedicated 83,000-sq.-ft. structure with 12 loading doors for the new distribution center. The structure provides storage capacity of 35,000 boxes of beef and offers benefits to JBS’s customer service capabilities. The second phase of construction is scheduled for completion in late spring 2014, and is expected to result in a total storage capacity of 100,000 boxes of beef.

JBS USA, a subsidiary of São Paulo, Brazil-based JBS SA, makes boxed beef, ground beef and case-ready beef products at the facility for its domestic and global customer base. In addition to the Swift brand, the plant produces premium program products, including 1855 Black Angus, Swift Black Angus and Certified Angus Beef.

“Installation of the new distribution center is designed to benefit our customers by improving service levels and overall plant effectiveness,” said Al Byers, leader of the JBS USA fed-beef business unit. “The system’s advanced technology further enhances our ability to meet the unique needs of our customers in domestic and international markets.”

Retrotech automation with additional sortation lanes and high-speed palletizers will be installed in February 2014, JBS said. In addition, the facility will include a combo storage system and Meat Master technology system for product consistency and quality. The commissioning of eight Viastore cranes will mark the final phase of construction.

“The new distribution center will strengthen our ability to remain a reliable and efficient supplier, while consistently meeting the expectations of our customers,” Byers said. “Our investment in the new distribution center demonstrates our long-term commitment to the community in Grand Island and our customers who demand loyal, quality service.”

JBS’s operation in Grand Island was established in 1965 and is located on 131 acres in central Nebraska. The facility employs more than 3,200 workers and has the capacity to process more than 5,400 head of cattle per day.