Metro Inc. plans to invest $420 million over five years to build a new, automated distribution centre for fresh and frozen products in Terrebonne, Que., just north of Montreal and to expand its produce and dairy products distribution centre in Laval, Que.
"Our new distribution centre of more than 600,000 square feet in Terrebonne will feature state of the art technologies, allowing us to make significant efficiency gains. We will improve service to our store network with increased accuracy and reduced handling time, in both the distribution centres and the stores. For consumers, these new facilities will result in even more variety and freshness. We will be in an excellent position to pursue our growth in Quebec," says Eric La Flèche, president and CEO, Metro.
The new Terrebonne distribution centre will open in 2023, while the expansion of the Laval distribution centre will be completed in 2024.
Metro has signed an agreement with Witron, an automated food distribution systems supplier, with whom the company is already working in Ontario, where similar facilities are currently under construction. "This $420 million investment in Quebec is in addition to the $400 million investment in Ontario announced in October 2017 for the modernization of our Toronto distribution centres. We are investing in order to remain at the forefront and better meet the expectations of our customers and our merchants, now and in the future," adds La Flèche.
Employees working in Metro’s existing meat and frozen food distribution centre in Montreal North and fish and seafood distribution centre in Rivière-des-Prairies/Pointe-aux-Trembles will be transferred to the new distribution centre in Terrebonne. The produce and dairy products distribution centre in Laval will be expanded by 50,000 square feet to handle an increased volume of fruits and vegetables. Dairy products will then be distributed from the new Terrebonne facility.
Projected volume growth, combined with the integration of volumes currently distributed by third parties, will allow Metro to maintain stable employment levels in Quebec. The company will work with its employees and the unions involved to facilitate the transition, including the implementation of the required training programs.