The Co-operative has opened its £22m Avonmouth distribution centre, which when fully operational in May will serve 500 stores in the South West.
The Co-operative Food’s chief executive Steve Murrells said: “The Co-operative Group’s logistics service has undergone a major overhaul in recent years to keep pace with the significant growth of the food business. This investment will mean we have an efficient and modern logistics network, while also allowing for further growth.”
The 435,750sq ft multi-temperature depot is now ramping up and will be fully operational by May 2013.
It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to serve almost 500 Co-op food stores in the Bristol, North Somerset and South Wales area.
It will handle around 1.2 million cases per week, and create more than 200 new jobs and employ 900 people.
Dave Lapidge, deputy warehouse manager, said: “This has been a meteoric roll out of the ambient operation.”
The ambient is expected to be fully up and running by 24th November while the phased roll out of chilled distribution will begin on 13th January.
The facility is part of a strategy to boost the Co-operative’s food logistics network following the acquisition of Somerfield in 2009. The aim is to upgrade existing facilities, improve supply chain performance and help create a platform for a superior store service.
The site has achieved the BREEAM rating of Excellent and Energy Performance Certificate rating of A. It has energy-saving and recycling initiatives, such as rainwater harvesting to reduce water demand on site and energy-saving lighting, which will reduce energy costs by 60 per cent while increasing lamp life.
Murrells was joined at the opening by Sean Toal, chief operating officer, Mark Hale, director of food IS and supply chain, David Mockford, Food stores and logistics director, Adrian Buxton, distribution general manager, Charlotte Leslie, MP for Bristol North West; Graham Sims, chief executive of Bristol City Council; and Dr Doug Naysmith, Avonmouth Ward councillor.