Home Truck News Groupe Robert opens new food distribution center - Truck News

Groupe Robert opens new food distribution center – Truck News

Groupe Robert’s automated food distribution center in Varennes is now ready to receive pallets of fresh and frozen foods from customers.

“It took almost three years to the day to build this center. They say that Rome was not built in a day, I can confirm that neither was our center,” said Michel Robert, president and CEO of Groupe Robert, to dignitaries and other guests gathered for the inauguration of the most technologically advanced cold storage warehouse in North America.

Groupe Robert ribbon cutting
(Photo: Arianne Nantel Gagnon)

Michel Robert paid tribute to his father, Claude Robert, chairman of the board of Groupe Robert, for “his vision, the countless number of hours he spent searching for the best options and his crazy ideas as he put them.

TruckNews.com asked Claude Robert why it was important for the company to build this center: “Every day, we have to be ready for the next day. Our way of being ready is to find new ideas,” he replied.

The Varennes distribution center has a storage capacity of 60,000 pallets – 30,000 for fresh products and 30,000 for frozen. Based on a 14-story high self-supporting structure made with high-precision parts manufactured in Austria and pre-assembled in Saguenay, it uses state-of-the-art automated handling systems and components that optimize energy efficiency, including panels designed expressly for the Robert Group. A revolutionary fire protection system reduces oxygen levels to provide the highest level of safety.

“The impact of our new refrigerated distribution center goes far beyond the walls of this facility. It strengthens the food supply chain for all of Quebec and beyond, ensuring more efficient and reliable distribution for our current and future customers,” said Michel Robert.

“Our vision for the future is clear,” he added. “We anticipate market needs to stay ahead of the industry.”

The distribution center is strategically located on Highway 30, between the Port of Montreal and the future port of Contrecoeur.

“The establishment of this state-of-the-art center consolidates the Quebec supply chain by ensuring the delivery of fresh products throughout our territory. With its new facilities, the Robert Group is helping to make our agri-food sector more autonomous, efficient and effective,” said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy , Innovation and Energy , Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montreal region.

Michel Robert told TruckNews.com that he was in the process of discussing with numerous clients to fill the center, specifying that the pandemic delayed the project by six to nine months. “We are at the stage of discussing with customers and the first pallets will begin to arrive during the winter.”

The center improves the food supply chain by ensuring stable and constant service delivery, he added. “With an automated center, we guarantee customers that we will always offer them the service. That’s what’s been difficult during the pandemic, and that’s what’s still difficult, is having the workforce, especially in environments like cold and frozen storage.”

The project required investments of more than $200 million and was supported by the government of Quebec, Investissement Québec and several partners. Government financial support for the realization of this project amounts to $35 million, including $20 million announced coming from Investissement Québec’s own funds.

This new warehouse joins those of the Groupe Robert agri-food complex in Boucherville.

inside shot of DC
(Photo: Arianne Nantel Gagnon)

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