Group Robert, which operates one of Quebec’s largest trucking operations, has announced plans to build a $150-million automated distribution center in Varennes, Que.
The projects will be supported by $40 million from the Fonds de solidarite FTQ and a $15 million loan from the provincial government.
Located near Hwy. 30, it will be 150 high and have enough room to store 60,000 pallets – evenly split by fresh and frozen products.
The facility adds to Groupe Robert’s agri-food complexes in Boucherville. And once complete it will make Groupe Robert the province’s first third-party logistics provider with an automated warehouse for fresh and frozen foods alike.
The automated system will reportedly unload trailers in minutes. And a heat recovery system that captures warmth from the refrigeration equipment will heat exterior concrete slabs on the loading docks. Solar panels and a rainwater collection system will also be used to wash trailers.
The facility is scheduled to be operational in early 2023.
“The Covid-19 pandemic made us realize the importance of consolidating local supply chains in order to ensure the delivery of products throughout Quebec. By automating its new distribution and warehousing centre, Groupe Robert consolidates its leadership position in the logistics sector,” said Lucie Lecours, provincial economy minister.
“Challenges related to Covid-19 pandemic have reminded us of the importance of having a strong distribution network for Quebec’s agri-food producers and processors,” added Janie Beique, executive vice-president – investments with Fonds de solidarite FTQ.
“Thanks to its extensive experience in transport and logistics, Groupe Robert is able to carry out this important project for a key sector of Quebec’s economy. Congratulations to Michel Robert and the entire Groupe Robert team who, through this project, are tackling key issues surrounding energy and technology transition!”
Groupe Robert currently owns and operates more than 40 distribution centers covering a collective 3.5 million square feet.