Swire leads the way with new cutting-edge DC

By: Paul Howell, Photography by: Taryne Fletcher

Swire Cold Storage puts safety and sustainability front and centre in the construction of its new distribution centre.

Swire leads the way with new cutting-edge DC
Swire Cold Storage managing director Shane Moloughney.


Swire Cold Storage’s new temperature controlled warehouse and freight hub in the Melbourne suburb of Laverton offers clues to where the cold storage and transport sector is heading.  

The 31,000 square-metre facility, the southern hemisphere’s largest temperature controlled space under a single roof, has been built with worker safety and sustainability concerns high in mind.

Almost every day of the working week, each of the distribution centre’s 19 truck bays is in use.

Temperature-sensitive products — mainly meat, seafood, produce, and confectionary — are loaded directly on to refrigerated trucks whose trailers are sealed into the bay, ensuring a consistent temperature is maintained throughout the loading process.

"It’s a $30 million, state-of-the-art investment that means we can continue to offer the most reliable and cost effective service to our customers," Swire Cold Storage managing director Shane Moloughney says.

The Laverton DC has a number of design elements that aim to reduce injury risk in the busy workplace. Pedestrians are kept well clear of forklift areas, via an overhead walkway that provides a clear view of all movement on the warehouse floor.

This corridor also provides a distinct divide between the offices and active warehouse areas. Meanwhile, visual and audio (lights and sirens) alerts let all staff know when vehicles, including forklifts, are close by.

Along with safety, the sustainability design aspects of the Laverton facility add important value to the company and its brand.

Just like the health and safety aspects, these resource-saving features were deliberately built in from the first design stages of the project.

"The cold chain logistics industry is naturally resource-intensive," Moloughney says.

 "We aim to ensure that all of the impacts of our operations are identified and appropriately managed, but we also work hard to develop operations that minimise those impacts as much as possible."

Rainwater harvesting, for example, provides a sizeable subsidy to the significant water needs of the company’s cooling infrastructure, making custom-built tanks and drains a vital part of any building design.

"Water harvesting provides us with about 30 per cent of our water use," Moloughney says. "At Laverton, it’s more than that — we expect to harvest over half a million litres per year here."

The use of energy efficient LED lighting throughout the Laverton facility is another key environmental initiative built into the building’s design, keeping it in line with Swire Cold Storage’s other warehouses and DCs.

"The sensor-activated LED lighting reduces energy consumption from lighting by up to 75 per cent," Moloughney says.

"It’s just one of a number of resource-saving strategies that we have used since 2012, decreasing our total carbon emissions by 12.5 per cent."

Read the full story on Swire’s state-of-the-art Melbourne facility in the January issue of ATN, out now.  

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