Woolworth’s Group supply chain arm, Primary Connect, has started to build the company’s 42,000 square metre temperature-controlled distribution centre at Heathwood in Queensland’s south east. It will deliver 4000 frozen and chilled products to more than 260 stores across Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Woolworth’s meat supplier Hilton Foods Australia will be co-located on the site, which is set to open in the first half of 2022. At full capacity, more than two million cartons a week will move through the Heathwood DC from more than 400 suppliers.

This is the latest in a number of major DC investments made by the group.

Its 70,000 square metre, $560m purpose-built Melbourne South Regional Distribution Centre has been operational for more than a year and is one of the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

In December, it opened its 15,000 square metre customer fulfilment centre in Sydney. COVID-19 saw Woolworths’ online sales increase 100 per cent year on year between July and September 2020.

Its 40,700 square metre NDC being constructed in Sydney’s Moorebank is due to come online in late 2023. That will see the closure of its Yennora, Mulgrave and part of its Michinbury sites.

In October 2020, Woolworths unveiled a $12m upgrade of its Townsville Regional DC, more than doubling its original footprint. Its 92,000 square metre Brisbane Regional Distribution Centre at Larapinta sorts and delivers fresh and ambient goods to stores across the state.

Meanwhile, its proposed acquisition of 65 per cent of foodservice supplier PFD Food Services, which would include all of PFD’s freehold properties and 26 distribution centres, is still under review by the ACCC

Primary Connect general manager for Queensland, Dale Acton, said the Heathwood DC would take up to 390 truck movements off Brisbane’s roads every week.

“Over the next five years we plan to inject a total of $500 million into the Queensland economy across our store network and supply chain, e-commerce and shopping centre developments, creating more than 5000 new jobs,” Action said.

The $184 million investment in the Heathwood DC is majority funded by LOGOS (property development costs of $148 million), with Woolworths signing an initial 15-year lease on the site.

Logos head of ANZ Darren Searle said the Woolworths DC would complete the 25 hectare estate and position it as a major food distribution hub.

“We’re pleased to be commencing construction of the third facility at our $500m Heathwood Logistics Estate with our long-term partner Woolworths. It will service Brisbane and the greater region alongside Asahi Beverages and Hilton Foods. We look forward to working with Woolworths, Brisbane City Council and Vaughan Constructions to deliver this Five Star Green Star facility,” Searle said. 

The DC is being built by Vaughan Constructions, which also constructed the Melbourne South DC.

It is also targeting a Five Star Green Star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia, with a major solar panel system on the roof and charge points for electric trucks.

Food & Drink Business

Beverage business Lion has announced the resignation of its CEO Stuart Irvine. He was CEO for eight years.

Taste and nutrition company Kerry is set to build a technology and innovation centre of excellence in Queensland. The site will also be the company’s new headquarters for Australia and New Zealand.

Five peak bodies across Australia are urging the ACCC not to greenlight Woolworths Group’s proposed acquisition of PFD Food Services, calling out the retailer’s “track record of anti-competitive behaviour” and citing concern for the potential damage to small businesses in the supply chain.