Woolworths Group’s supply chain arm, Primary Connect, plans to build two new distribution centres (DC) in Western Sydney to complete the modernisation of its New South Wales (NSW) supply chain network.
The proposal for a new fresh food DC in Wetherill Park was lodged earlier this year and has received investment approval from the Woolworths Group Board. A separate planning proposal will be lodged for a new liquor DC in Kemps Creek this week. Both are subject to NSW Department of Planning approval.
The new sites are the final step in a major transformation of Primary Connect’s NSW supply chain network. Primary Connect announced the Moorebank supply chain hub in 2020, with construction commencing in May 2021.
The 76,000sqm multi-storey fresh distribution centre at Wetherill Park is set to service more than 280 Woolworths stores across NSW commencing in 2023. The site will support up to 700 ongoing jobs and more than 500 jobs throughout construction.
At more than six times the size of Bankwest Stadium’s playing field, the temperature-controlled distribution centre will have the capacity to distribute more than 3,700 fresh produce and chilled lines. It will provide a significant uplift in capacity to drive Woolworths Supermarkets’ ongoing range expansion and support continued volume growth in NSW.
Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said: “The development of the Wetherill Park facility will help us deliver high-quality fruit, vegetables and chilled goods to our customers fresher, faster and more efficiently than ever before.
“Wetherill Park is strategically located in close proximity to a large number of our stores, suppliers and transport providers, making it an ideal base for our fresh food distribution in NSW.
“The co-location of fresh and chilled operations across a multi-storey site will also help remove more than 11,000 truck movements off Sydney roads each year – delivering environmental, traffic and road safety benefits to the community.”
The Wetherill Park DC will replace the current fresh network in NSW, which is nearing capacity. Fresh and chilled products in NSW are currently supplied out of three sites, comprising the Minchinbury Fresh DC and two third party facilities, with limited capacity to service range expansion and volume growth over the medium to long term. As a result, temperature-controlled operations at the Sydney Regional DC in Minchinbury are expected to cease in 2024, impacting around 330 Woolworths Group team members.
Brad Banducci added: “We understand the impact these decisions have on our team members and never take them lightly. We’ll explore redeployment opportunities wherever possible, and provide a wide range of support and career transition services in the lead up to the site closure. We’ll also look to draw on our Future of Work Fund to support reskilling programs.”
The 35,000sqm Kemps Creek Liquor DC will be managed by Primary Connect and service more than 400 Dan Murphy’s and BWS outlets across NSW under a partnership agreement with Endeavour Group from 2022. Kemps Creek will provide ongoing employment for around 180 team members and a further 100 jobs will be supported during construction.
Primary Connect has agreed an initial five year lease on the site. It will replace the current Erskine Park Liquor DC, which will be converted into an ambient grocery facility to service Woolworths Supermarkets. Primary Connect has signed a lease extension at Erskine Park through to 2028.
Primary Connect Managing Director Paul Graham said: “We’re pleased to be partnering with Endeavour Group on the Kemps Creek development to deliver improved service to their store teams. It’s a major commercial agreement for Primary Connect, which recognises the scale and capability we can offer to external partners. Importantly, the project will also deliver hundreds of new jobs on the doorstep of the fast-growing Western Sydney Aerotropolis.”
Outside of NSW, Primary Connect has expanded its Townsville, Adelaide and Tasmanian distribution centres, opened a 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.