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Tesco Lotus opens modern fresh distribution centre

Agriculture Minister Theera Wongsamut presided over the opening ceremony of the Tesco Lotus Lam Luk Ka Fresh Distribution Centre in Pathum Thani yesterday.

The fresh DC incorporates state-of-the-art technology to deliver quality fresh food to customers and enable up to 32 per cent savings of carbon emissions per square metre. It can handle more than 230,000 cases of fresh food per day from more than 450 vendors to serve its 34 million customers each month in more than 700 stores around the country.

Tesco Lotus chairman Sunthorn Arunanondchai said the fresh DC would not only help save more than 1,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year, it would create more than 1,000 jobs, including 200 in Pathum Thani province.

“Lam Luk Ka Fresh DC has been fitted with the most modern energy saving and environmentally friendly tools, equipment and materials, enabling it to reduce carbon emissions by 32 per cent per square metre compared with conventional DCs of a comparable size, and also to allow the DC progressively to reduce its carbon emissions in a proactive and sustainable manner,” Sunthorn said.

About 65 million baht has been invested in 20 environmentally friendly initiatives, including revolutionary dock pods that maintain temperature integrity with every size of truck, a special insulated floor, ammonia coolant for refrigeration, electric cooling systems for trucks, and energy efficient lighting, which together are expected to save more than 1,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Lam Luk Ka Fresh DC supplies Tesco Lotus stores of all formats with fresh food. The stores’ requirements for non-temperature dependent products such as dry groceries and nonfood items will continue to be met by the company’s ambient DCs in Wang Noi, Ayutthaya, Bang Bua Thong in Nonthaburi, and Sam Khok in Pathum Thani.

“Centralised distribution enables us to minimise the number of truck journeys needed to supply our stores,” Sunthorn said. “Lam Luk Ka Fresh DC, the latest addition to our distribution network, will further enable us to increase our efficiency in serving our customers with the freshest possible food.”

The new centre has been designed to provide high safety standards for staff, and increased use of mechanical equipment has enabled more women in the workforce, at 40 per cent.

Tesco Lotus chief executive officer Chris Bush said yesterday that the fresh DC at Lam Luk Ka would be different from the three existing distribution centres in Wang Noi, Bang Bua Thong and Sam Khok in that it was designed from the ground up to conserve energy.

“Getting the freshest food to customers is our top priority. We are also looking at new plans to boost fresh participation in the business,” he said.

Bush said Tesco Lotus planned to reduce carbon emissions by 10 per cent from fiscal 2006 by the end of February, and by 11 per cent by the end of February next year. It is on target for a cumulative cut of 50 per cent by 2020, he said.

In addition, he said Tesco Lotus would apply the green concept to its three existing DCs. The company would build more DCs as necessary.

On last year’s results, Bush declined to give the figures but said the company did reasonably well despite the political disturbances and floods. “We hope for political and economic stability both in Thailand and at a global level.”

He said Tesco Lotus planned to invest about Bt7 billion in new stores this year.

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