Nestlé XPO

Image: Swisslog

XPO Logistics and Nestlé are jointly creating a highly-automated warehouse in Leicestershire that will act as a distribution centre for Nestlé and provide a technology testbed for XPO.

The 638,000 ft² warehouse, being billed as ‘a digital warehouse of the future’, will be custom-built at Segro’s East Midlands Gateway Logistics Park. It will include advanced sorting systems and robotics alongside automation that will be co-developed by Swisslog Logistics Automation.

When the warehouse opens in 2020 it will use predictive data and intelligent machines to improve distribution management of the brands located there, which will include KitKat, Maggi and Nescafé. XPO will develop prototypes at the site prior to global release.

The warehouse is located close to both the M1 motorway for road freight and East Midlands Airport for air cargo. The logistics park will also have a rail freight terminal with links to Southampton, Felixstowe, London Gateway and the Channel Tunnel.

Landscaping will be used to minimise the visual impact and green features will include LED lighting, ammonia refrigeration, air source heat pumps for administration areas and rainwater harvesting.

Nestlé’s director of supply chain David Hix said: “Our partnership with XPO will encourage innovation and experimentation in our UK logistics operations and help future-proof our business.”

Richard Cawston, MD of supply chain at XPO Logistics Europe, added: “Together, we will create limitless opportunities to explore new technologies in a state-of-the-art logistics environment. The new East Midlands centre will operate both as a think tank and a launchpad for XPO innovations, with far-reaching impacts on the way business is done.”

The 700 acre East Midlands Gateway has attracted a number of occupiers since its launch last October. Amazon, Shop Direct and Kuehne + Nagel all plan to open distribution centres there.