Taking technology and sustainability to new levels, Walmart Canada has invested CAD $175 million in its latest distribution center in Surrey, British Columbia. The 300,000-square-foot facility will distribute fresh and frozen foods, as well as pantry items, to 45 Walmart locations across the province, and is part of the retailer’s broader $3.5 billion investment to generate growth and speed up the flow of products across Canada.
The company built the distribution center vertically as opposed to a traditional facility, saving half of the land mass and reducing its overall carbon footprint. The technology for the unique building design was made possible through a partnership with logistics solution company WITRON, and allows workers to complete as many as 150,000 order picks per day.
The center is slated to become a zero-waste facility, will reduce energy consumption by 70% via LED lighting and will also serve as a future hub for Walmart’s electric semi truck fleet. Building materials include recycled materials and the site includes 18,000 new plants.
“We’re incredibly proud of our new sustainability-focused and technology-enabled distribution center in Surrey. Facilities like this one are an investment in the community, our associates and customers and allow our suppliers to get their products into the hands of Canadians across the country even faster,” said Horacio Barbeito, president and CEO of Walmart Canada. “We continue to strengthen our world-class supply chain to ensure Canadians have access to the products they need in a way that’s fast, efficient and minimizes our impact on the environment so that they can live better.”
The building of the facility created more than 300 construction and engineering jobs and it will employ more than 250 people once fully operational.
“Surrey is the most technologically-advanced facility for Walmart in Canada and is also the future hub for our electric fleet,” said Walmart Canada EVP and Chief Transformation Officer John Bayliss. “This is only the start for what Canadians can expect from Walmart: We’re transforming how we enable our supply chain and associates with leading-edge technologies and innovations.”
This is the latest in Walmart Canada’s sustainability- and tech-focused business moves. The company recently announced a supercenter in Quebec that is expected to open its doors in summer 2023 and will feature a 125,000-square-foot green roof, ultra-low flow restrooms, building materials made with recycled content and LED lighting throughout the store and its offices. A $118 million high-tech sortable fulfillment center in Rocky View County, Alberta, is also in the works.
Walmart Canada operates a chain of more than 400 stores nationwide serving 1.5 million customers each day. Walmart Canada is No. 21 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Walmart U.S. is No. 1.