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Woolworths starts building next-gen DC in Western Sydney

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Woolworths Group’s supply chain arm – Primary Connect – has started building its new National Distribution Centre in the Moorebank Logistics Park in Western Sydney.

Set to open in 2024, the new DC will service more than 1000 Woolworths supermarkets across Australia. The site 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 (almost five times the SCG playing field) across both sites, Moorebank will enable Woolworths to offer its customers an expanded range and improved stock availability in-store, says a media statement.

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

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said the challenges of the past year have put a spotlight on the critical role our distribution centres play in providing the essential food and everyday needs Australian communities rely on.

“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,” said Banducci.

“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 8000 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.

Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities Paul Fletcher said the Morrison government has made a $466m investment to support the efficient and effective movement of freight in Sydney through the federally-funded Moorebank Intermodal Terminal and surrounding logistics park, in turn creating thousands of jobs for the region.

“Our government remains committed to delivering this significant infrastructure project. To support the efficient operation of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal and improve traffic flows around it, the recent budget included an investment of $87.5 million for the M5 Motorway – Moorebank Ave/Hume HWY intersection upgrade,” he said.

[l-r] Dominic Perrettot, Brad Banducci, and Paul Fletcher turn the first sods at the new DC.

Woolworths Group has a $2.3bn investment program planned across NSW over the next five years, which will support a further 7500 ongoing jobs and thousands more during construction.

Each DC 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.

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.

Primary Connect says the Moorebank investment is its next step in transforming its national supply chain network that 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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