Countdown’s new North Island distribution centre creates 70 jobs

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Countdown's new distribution centre on Alderson Dr is on track to be completed early July. It will start operations in a few months after landscaping work puts the final touches on the site.

WARWICK SMITH/Stuff

Countdown’s new distribution centre on Alderson Dr is on track to be completed early July. It will start operations in a few months after landscaping work puts the final touches on the site.

Countdown is recruiting for 70 new jobs, as the supermarket chain’s new Palmerston North distribution centre nears completion.

Construction began on the $100 million distribution centre in June last year. It was originally slated to create 50 new jobs for Manawatū residents, but Countdown has decided to hire another 20 people.

National property and development manager Bruce Waite​ said the original figure was based on several assumptions and the centre’s initial design.

“However, once we got deeper into the [specifics] of how things will run, and developed our daily shift pattern, our new calculations told us we’d need more people to join our team than we originally thought.”

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Countdown national property manager Bruce Waite, left, and project manager Mark Pearson inspect the racks at the new distribution centre on Alderson Dr.

WARWICK SMITH/Stuff

Countdown national property manager Bruce Waite, left, and project manager Mark Pearson inspect the racks at the new distribution centre on Alderson Dr.

Recruitment for the new jobs, which are a mix of part and full-time roles, began in May.

Despite the lock-downs, disruptions and extra precautions that came with working during a pandemic, contractors had kept progress on target, Waite said.

The building will be finished in early July. This will be followed by landscaping work and tree planting, before Countdown starts working the new centre into its supply chain in a few months time.

The Palmerston North centre will supply Countdown, FreshChoice and SuperValue stores from Gisborne to Wellington.

“It’s one of our bigger [distribution centres], although the ones up in Auckland are the biggest,” Waite said.

The 38,000 square metre facility is three times the size of Countdown’s old distribution centre on Makomako Rd.

Waite said the old depot would keep running until the new centre was fully on its feet, with some overlap when both will be operating in late October or November.

Once all 100 of the Makomako St staff transfer over to the new centre, the nearly 200 employees will move about 450,000 cartons of food a week through Countdown’s network.

Trucks passing through these loading lanes will carry 450,000 cartons of food a week through Countdown’s network from Gisborne to Wellington.

WARWICK SMITH/Stuff

Trucks passing through these loading lanes will carry 450,000 cartons of food a week through Countdown’s network from Gisborne to Wellington.

Project manager Mark Pearson​ said the centre was designed to reduce Countdown’s impact on the environment, and the company aimed to earn a four-star Green Star rating for the completed facility.

Green Star is an internationally-recognised rating system for the design, construction and operation of buildings, fit-outs and communities, administered by the New Zealand Green Building Council.

Pearson said the distribution centre would have energy efficient lighting, rainwater harvesting and low use energy and water fittings.

“Extensive energy and water metering will also mean real time data is on hand to see how well the building is performing.”

Dedicated parks for fuel efficient vehicles, electric vehicle charging stations and bike storage with easy access to showers will also be provided to encourage staff to take more environmentally-friendly transport options.



Read More: Countdown’s new North Island distribution centre creates 70 jobs

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