Dairy company Fonterra has announced that milk concentration technology being installed at its Tuamarina site will mean almost 3,000 fewer truck movements a year on the road between Marlborough and South Canterbury.

Currently, milk from Fonterra's Marlborough suppliers is collected by tanker and taken to the Tuamarina site. From there, it is line-hauled to the company's Clandeboye site for processing.

The reverse osmosis plant currently being installed at Tuamarina will filter the milk, rather like straining tea - although in this case it will be the solids that are retained and the liquid (water) that is discarded. This means less volume to transport and, as a result, fewer trucks. 

Fonterra General Manager Technical Rupert Soar said the new technology was all part of Fonterra's focus on increasing manufacturing efficiency and reducing operating costs. However, reducing the number of trucks travelling on the coastal highway would benefit the wider community as well.

"It's an environmentally-friendly solution that is going to save us money at the same time," he said.

The plant, the first of its kind in Australasia, is being installed for Fonterra by Tetra Pak New Zealand. Tetra Pak Managing Director Keith McCracken said the companies had worked in partnership to achieve a leading edge solution.

"Tetra Pak has a long-standing relationship with Fonterra and this is another way we are supporting the company's drive to be the world's best," he said.

The new plant will be up and running in December.