Woolworths Group (ASX: WOW) has unveiled its new state-of-the-art Heathwood distribution centre (DC) spanning the size of three Suncorp Stadium playing fields, servicing 280 stores in Queensland and northern NSW.
The 42,000sqm temperature-controlled facility 20km southwest of Brisbane's CBD is the product of a long-term partnership between Woolworths and LOGOS Property Group, and was built by Vaughan Constructions which is also involved in the retailer's customer fulfilment centre in Western Sydney.
At full capacity the Heathwood DC will distribute in excess of a million cartons of chilled, frozen and fresh meat per week.
With the co-location and connection via an automated air bridge of Woolworths’ meat supplier Hilton Foods Australia, approximately 390 truck movements will be removed from Brisbane roads each week by consolidating delivery loads to stores.
The building is targeting a 5 Star Green Star certification for sustainability, and features 4,000 solar panels that will provide 100 per cent power for the site during peak periods, a discharge rainwater tank that captures three million litres of rainwater and gentle run off, grassed areas across the grounds, and provision for electric cars and trucks.
Woolworths and LOGOS are also supporting the local ecosystem by installing native bee colonies on-site, which are cared for by a local beekeeper.
Creating more than 200 local jobs during its construction and approximately 300 ongoing jobs, the DC has been partly operational since November 2021 to support Woolworths Group’s network in the lead up to Christmas.
"The importance of a strong, responsive and resilient supply chain has come into sharp focus during the pandemic and the most recent extreme weather events," says Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci.
"As well as strengthening our network capability, this new state-of-the-art facility is an important part of our ongoing commitment to investing in Brisbane - and across broader Queensland - to support jobs growth and help us deliver high-quality products to our customers fresher, faster and more efficiently than ever before.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said private sector investment in new infrastructure and jobs was crucial to rebuilding Queensland’s economy in the wake of COVID-19.
“Throughout the pandemic and again, during severe weather events this year, Queenslanders have gained a great appreciation for the important role distribution centres play in their lives,” the Premier said.
“This centre will not only create local jobs – it will grow the supply chain here in the southeast and help to ensure that Queenslanders always have access to food and other essentials."
Milton Dick MP, Federal Member for Oxley, said he was incredibly excited to see this facility open as a fantastic boost for the local economy.
The new DC is just under half the size of Woolworths' 92,000sqm Brisbane Regional Distribution Centre at Larapinta, an adjacent suburb to Heathwood, to sort and deliver fresh and ambient goods to stores across the state.
"Brisbane is Australia’s fastest growing capital city and the ideal location for a world-class food distribution hub servicing South East Queensland," added Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner.
"Brisbane Economic Development Agency worked with Woolworths Group to accelerate the centre’s opening, which opened more doors of opportunity for our local economy.
"This hub creates jobs, delivers a secure food supply chain and opens up supplier opportunities, which is a huge vote of confidence in Brisbane’s future."
In October 2020, Woolworths Group unveiled a $12m upgrade of its Townsville Regional DC - more than doubling its original footprint.
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