Colruyt Group has opened a new, sustainable distribution center in Ath/Lessines, backed by the Walloon Region and the European Union. In a first phase, the plant will employ 500 people.
Group in full growth
"To solidify our growth and to be able to better serve our customers, we need new distribution centers. Thanks to the financial support of the European Union and the Walloon Region, worth 15.37 million euro, we have built this project in Ath/Lessines. We would also like to thank the Walloon Region and the EDITA association of local authorities to help build it", Jef Colruyt, Colruyt Group's CEO, said.
The total cost for the Ath/Lessines plant reached 79 million euro and it currently employs 500 people, with room for 1,000 employees in the future.
Most sustainable distribution center in Belgium
To reach maximum sustainability, the building has been outfitted with solar panels to provide 70 families' worth of green energy. It also uses LED lighting, while it also has appliances to catch rainwater and a similar appliance to save warmth using the ventilation system.
The site also has a 32,000 sqm flower bed and an insect hotel. Colruyt will also plant another 16,000 trees and plants. "We have also just acquired a permit to build a windmill on the premises", Jef Colruyt confirmed.
Example of distribution technology
The Ath/Lessines distribution center is a prime example of distribution technology. The building, 33 meters high, is fully automated. In the area for manual package preparation, up to 240,000 packages can be processed per day. That comes down to 2 packages per second.
The supply room and the area for automated package handling can process 450 pallets per hour. In total, 30,000 pallets can be placed in the supply room and some 250 trucks can service stores per day.
Colruyt has some 470 stores of its own, with another 500 affiliate stores. The store chain currently has more than 27,000 employees and manages an 8.7 billion euro turnover in 2013/2014, thanks to sales in Belgium, France and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.