Co-op’s Scottish expansion backed by loading bay fit-outs
06 March 2019
Sara LBS has supplied all the loading bay equipment for the new £6million Dalcross Distribution Centre at Inverness Airport Business Park (IABP).
The centre is part of a sustained process of expansion and renewal for the Co-op’s convenience retail network throughout Northern Scotland.
Nationally the Co-op is implementing a £200m programme of development that has seen it open about 400 new stores in the last four years, as well as refurbishing and expanding existing sites. Its North of Scotland region is a prominent part of this plan, with about 20 shops a year being opened round the villages of the Highland and Islands and the larger towns and cities in the East, such as Aberdeen, Inverness, Perth and Dundee.
To ensure the region is efficiently serviced, the Co-op has built a state of the art distribution centre at Inverness Airport Business Park, which serves as a hub for both air freight and road transport. This currently has eight loading bays with potential for more to be added as the retail network grows.
Each bay is designed to accommodate double decker vehicles, which will save 1,800 road miles per day compared to the use of single deckers; helping to reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions. They also help contain shipping costs, helping keep prices to consumers low and the Co-op competitive. The loading bays will also facilitate night time working, withstand winter weather and maintain hygiene and biosecurity to the high standards required for safe food handling.
Louise Nurse, sales and marketing manager for sara LBS, says: “I believe sara LBS was awarded the loading bay contract because of our ability to provide a full package of equipment, and to guarantee efficiency and high quality in the relatively remote location. The Inverness construction schedule was tight, so our commitment to being flexible and fitting in with timetable changes was critical to the overall project success.
The bays are all identical, with each having an insulated main loading door, which helps maintain thermal stability so that the food being handled is kept at optimum temperature for maximum freshness. Outside the bays are fitted with inflatable seals that minimise heat exchange with the interior and also stop birds from flying into the bay. Each bay is also fitted with traffic lights, wheel guides and buffers which aid safe and efficient vehicle movements. Internally each bay has a dock leveller so that both vehicles decks can be accessed easily, while state of the art bay lighting ensures a good working environment.
The distribution centre is built to a bespoke design and is future-proofed in that it can easily be extended as operations increase. The Co-op is expected to open 40 new or redeveloped stores around Scotland in 2019, with more to follow in subsequent years.