Woolies to invest in two new distribution centres

Woolworths Group and Qube have announced plans to invest in an automated Regional Distribution Centre and a semi-automated National Distribution Centre (DC) in the Moorebank Logistics Park, Sydney.

According to Woolworths, the DC’s – which are subject to NSW government planning approval – will strengthen the retailer’s supply chain and deliver the new capacity needed to underpin future growth.

Woolworths’ customers are expected to benefit from improved product quality, an expanded range and better availability as the site’s “cutting-edge” technology allows for faster, safer, and more efficient deliveries to stores year-round.

“The investment at Moorebank will transform the way we serve our NSW stores, strengthen our network and deliver on our ambition to create Australia’s best food and grocery supply chain,” says Woolworths Chief Supply Chain Officer Paul Graham.

“Cutting-edge automation will build tailored pallets for specific aisles in individual stores – helping us improve on-shelf product availability with faster restocking, reducing congestion in stores, and enabling a safer work environment for our teams with less manual handling.

“The new facilities will also help progress our localised ranging efforts, with the ability to hold many thousands more products centrally than we can in our existing facilities.”

The investment

Woolworths Group will invest around $700-$780 million in the technology and fitout of the two distribution centres over the next four years and has signed an initial lease term of 20 years with Qube Holdings Limited. Qube will invest around $420-$460 million to build the warehouses.

DC features

Both sites will build on semi-automated and automated technology deployed at Woolworths’ Melbourne South Regional Distribution Centre, which has been servicing Victorian stores for more than 12 months.

Each warehouse is also targeting a Five-Star Green Star Design and As-Built rating and will incorporate various sustainability initiatives including solar PV systems, LED warehouse lighting and rainwater harvesting.

The future

Set to open in 2023 and 2024, the two DC’s are expected to provide around 650 jobs once fully operational, along with more than 1,000 jobs during construction.

Once established, the Moorebank facilities will replace the current ambient operations at Woolworths’ Sydney Regional Distribution Centre (Minchinbury), Sydney National Distribution Centre (Yennora) and Melbourne National Distribution Centre (Mulgrave). These sites are expected to close by 2025. Temperature controlled fresh food distribution will continue out of Sydney Regional Distribution Centre.

“While this change is a few years away,” says Mr Graham, “we’re absolutely committed to supporting our team members at existing sites through what will undoubtedly be a challenging transition.

“We explored options to upgrade our existing sites, but the ageing infrastructure just won’t be able to support the growth in volumes we’ll need to service in the years ahead.

“We’ll look to offer redeployment opportunities wherever possible with 650 roles available at the new Moorebank sites, as well as providing a wide range of support and career transition services to our team well before site closures.”

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