Ahold builds automated cold storage

Ahold Delhaize USA made a huge announcement at the end of 2019 that it was going to invest $480 million to transition the retailer’s supply chain network into an integrated self-distribution model. Now, details are emerging about one key component to this transformation: cold-storage space.

Americold, the nation’s largest operator of refrigerated and frozen warehouses, will build two fully automated frozen warehouses, expanding Ahold Delhaize USA's cold-storage space by 500,000 square feet. The facility in Plainville, Connnecticut, will serve its Northeast brands, and the one in Mountville, Pennsylvania, will serve its Mid-Atlantic brands.

Currently, Ahold Delhaize USA has 16 traditional and e-commerce distribution centers, with plans to grow to 23 facilities by 2023. 

The new facilities will have enhanced automation and technology advancements, such as an integrated transportation management system and end-to-end forecasting and replenishment technology, designed to support the omnichannel experience and multi-channel growth.

“Today’s announcement continues to reinforce how Ahold Delhaize USA is transforming our infrastructure to support the next generation of grocery retail,” said Chris Lewis, executive vice president, supply chain for Retail Business Services, the services company for Ahold Delhaize USA. “Through this expansion, we will continue to modernize our supply chain distribution, transportation and procurement through a fully-integrated, self-distribution model that will be managed by our companies directly and locally. This will result in efficiencies and, most importantly, product availability and freshness for customers of our local brands – now and in the future – whenever, wherever and however they choose to shop.”  

Ahold Delhaize USA says that the new warehouses will enable it to expand local products, increase product freshness and speed up delivery. 

"With state-of-the-art automation, these two facilities will deliver a combined 59,000 pallet positions to support the local brands of Ahold Delhaize USA in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions," said Fred Boehler, president and CEO of Americold. "We are thrilled to partner with Ahold Delhaize USA to design, build and operate these strategically-located retail distribution fulfillment centers over an initial term of the next 20 years." 

Each of the warehouses will create approximately 200 new jobs.

This article first published in sister publicationProgressive Grocer.