Woolworths breaks ground on new National Distribution Centre

Woolworths Group’s supply chain arm, Primary Connect, has begun work on a new National Distribution Centre, that will service more than 1,000 Woolworths stores nationally.

The new National DC is set to open in 2024 and will be co-located with the Moorebank Regional Distribution Centre (DC), which will start construction later and open in 2025.

With cutting-edge automation and 75,000sqm of floor space across both sites, Moorebank will enable Woolworths to offer its customers an expanded range and improved stock availability in-store.

Woolworths Group will invest around $700-$780 million in the technology and fit out of both distribution centres in partnership with Dematic and Vanderlande. Qube will invest around $440 million to build the distribution centres, with Woolworths signing an initial 20-year lease.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said: “To keep pace with growing demand and ever evolving customer expectations, we need to continue to invest in new technology and capacity to power our next generation supply chain.

“We have ambitions to offer a more tailored range of products in our stores. This has traditionally been constrained by what we can hold in our distribution centres.

“Once both centres are up and running, we’ll be able to carry up to 8,000 additional products in our range than we can in our existing facilities. This will help unlock a much better shopping experience for our customers.

“With unrivalled logistics infrastructure and connections to key port, rail and road networks, Moorebank is the ideal base for what will be our largest single supply chain investment.”

Moorebank Logistics Park’s direct access to a dedicated freight rail line from Port Botany, with onward connections to the national rail network, will help take at least 26,000 truck movements off Australian roads each year.

Woolworths Group has a $2.3 billion investment program planned across NSW over the next five years, which will support a further 7,500 ongoing jobs and thousands more during construction.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said: “This distribution hub offers a welcome boost to employment and investment and is another indicator of the ongoing growth of Western Sydney.

“As we emerge from the shadows of COVID-19 the economic recovery and future prosperity of our state will benefit from major investments like this one. This will be a 21st Century facility located right in the middle of the economic engine room of Sydney.”

The start of construction follows approval of both developments by the NSW Department of Planning in late 2020 and the recent appointment of Richard Crookes Constructions as the lead builder on the Moorebank National Distribution Centre.

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

“The steps we take to become a more sustainable business today will help create a better tomorrow for generations to come,” said Banducci.

“At Moorebank, we’ll harness renewable energy at scale, with some 9,500 solar panels set to generate 5,550mwh of energy each year. This is equivalent to 880 households’ annual energy consumption and will offset about 13 percent of our power needs at Moorebank.

“We’re also working closely with training providers and Liverpool City Council to support hundreds of local Western Sydney jobs once operational.”

Cutting-edge automation at the facilities will build tailored pallets for specific aisles in individual stores. This helps improve in-store product availability with faster restocking and reduces congestion in stores – ultimately enabling a safer work environment for teams with less manual handling demands.

The Moorebank investment is Primary Connect’s next step in transforming its national supply chain network and was first announced in June 2020. Since 2018, Primary Connect has expanded its Townsville, Adelaide and Tasmanian distribution centres, opened its new Melbourne Fresh Distribution Centre and commissioned the automated Melbourne South Regional Distribution Centre. Heathwood Fresh Distribution Centre is under construction in Queensland as well.

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