Woolies set to build state-of-the-art DCs

Woolworths
Group and Qube have announced plans to invest in an automated Regional
Distribution Centre and a semi-automated National Distribution Centre in
New South Wales. The total investment in the facilities from both
companies will reach approximately $1.2 billion.

Located in
Moorebank Logistics Park, Sydney, the two state-of-the-art facilities
are set to transform the NSW supply chain network with investment in the
new high-tech Distribution Centres (DC) that are set to open in 2023
and 2024.

Woolworths Group will invest up to $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.

Qube will invest between $420–$460 million to build the
warehouses, bringing the combined investment from both companies to
approximately $1.2 billion into the roll-out of the new DCs, which are
still subject to state Government planning approval.

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.

Transforming NSW supply chainWoolworths
chief supply chain officer Paul Graham said the investment at Moorebank
will transform the way it serves its NSW stores, strengthen its network
and deliver on its ambition to create Australia’s best food and grocery
supply chain.

Graham said cutting-edge automation will build
tailored pallets for specific aisles in individual stores, helping the
group improve on-shelf product availability with faster restocking,
reducing congestion in stores, and enabling a safer work environment for
its 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,” he said.

According to Graham, the Group learnt a lot
from its ground-breaking development at the Melbourne South Regional
Distribution Centre (MSRDC).

“After hitting new volume milestones
and dramatically improving the speed and accuracy of deliveries, MSRDC
is now consistently supporting our Victorian stores – giving us
confidence that now is the right time to invest in this new technology
for our NSW network,” he said.

Australia’s largest freight infrastructure projectMoorebank
Logistics Park, Sydney, is Australia’s largest freight infrastructure
project and will link Port Botany direct to rail terminals and
warehousing on a 243 hectare site.

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.

Infrastructure
investments by the Federal and State Government at Moorebank Logistics
Park were key to Woolworths’ site selection.

The direct rail
access to Port Botany will provide strategic benefits for Woolworths’
transport network and help remove at least 26,000 of its truck movements
from NSW roads each year.

Qube Managing Director Maurice James
said Woolworths’ long-term commitment will reinforce the commercial
appeal of this nationally important infrastructure and freight project.

“The
benefits of railing containers direct from Port Botany to a terminal
co-located with warehousing across a site the size of the Sydney CBD
will deliver Woolworths time and cost efficiencies,” he said.

“Our
project team is looking forward to working with the Woolworths team in
delivering an optimal solution for their operations.”

Graham said it 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,” he said.

“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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