NZ$450m fully automated warehouse investment

4 July 2023

Cardinal Logistics is investing more than NZ$450 million in developing New Zealand’s first fully automated third-party logistics (3PL) warehouse in Drury, South Auckland. Cardinal, the country’s largest privately-owned 3PL company, expects the first stage of the project to be online later this year.

Also believed to be largest of its type in the Southern Hemisphere, the new facility represents a massive capital investment in New Zealand’s supply chain infrastructure. The project is broken down into three stages and will feature a central distribution hub filled with high-speed pallet cranes and rapid sorting vehicles, with 115,000 automatic storage and retrieval system (ASRS) pallet capacity in Auckland when fully complete by June 2025.

The first stage to be completed this year will deliver 12,000 ASRS pallets, stage two is due for completion in December 2024 with a further 48,000 ASRS pallets and stage three in June 2025 with the last 55,000 ASRS pallets. An additional similar 45,000 automated pallet Christchurch site is also under design.

The facility is set to improve order processing times by up to 400% with the investment part of a wider multi-billion industrial development in Drury.

An integrated buffering system with capacity to handle 62,000 cartons provides for automated carton picking on a massive scale. Automated technology will move products to pallets and into trucks at high speed. This will all be housed in a six hectare building with a 25-metre ceiling height – one of the tallest warehouses in New Zealand to allow room for the robotics.

When operational, an order will be placed into the automated system, robotic cranes will retrieve specific cartons from their location and will, based on their weight, deliver them in the right order to the correct pallet, to be packed and then dispatched. How delivery trucks are packed will be determined by the AIsystem and will be based on the best route to reach each customer.

“This investment is the first of its kind for New Zealand’s highly competitive logistics industry and will provide more resilience and efficiency at the customer end of supply-chains. We think technology and innovation can transform the future of New Zealand supply-chains. Large scale infrastructure investments in automation like this will help flatten out the surges of volume that can occur when another part of the supply chain is constrained.

“Automation and robotics in warehouses are now proven technologies in other markets, however this is the first investment of this scale in automated logistics technology here in New Zealand, and we think the new facility will revolutionise carton warehousing.

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Source: transporttalk