Coca-Cola opens $79m automated warehouse in Tuas

The 6,000 sq m four-storey warehouse is connected to Cola-Cola Singapore's concentrate plant via an overhead bridge.
The 6,000 sq m four-storey warehouse is connected to Cola-Cola Singapore's concentrate plant via an overhead bridge.PHOTO: COCA-COLA SINGAPORE

Coca-Cola Singapore yesterday opened a $79 million storage and distribution centre in Tuas to drive efficiency and support its growing business in the Asia-Pacific region.

The investment comes as the firm evolves into a "total beverage company" catering to consumer demands for low and no-sugar drinks, and new options that provide benefits like nutrition and hydration, Coca-Cola said in a statement.

The 6,000 sq m four-storey warehouse sits across the road from the firm's concentrate plant.

An enclosed overhead bridge with a dual two-way conveyance system transports finished products from the manufacturing facility to the storage warehouse, while sending ingredients in the other direction.

It is also the first warehousing facility here with an automated storage and retrieval system built on top of the loading and unloading bays, thus utilising about half the space of conventional warehousing operations.

The facility can store up to 14,000 pallets, with a throughput of 126 pallets per hour. Its automated storage and retrieval system will improve warehousing efficiency significantly, cutting storage time by 65 per cent to 7.8 seconds, from 23 seconds previously.

Said Mr John Murphy, president of Asia-Pacific group of The Coca-Cola Company: "Asia is one of our fastest growing markets and we see high demand for our wide range of beverages across the region. This new distribution centre is an investment in automation and technology that will position the company for quality growth well into the future."

Ms Thien Kwee Eng, assistant managing director at Singapore's Economic Development Board, said: "Coca-Cola's new distribution centre demonstrates Singapore's position as a strategic base for regional supply chain operations, as well as Coca-Cola's commitment to set new benchmarks for Singapore's food manufacturing industry.

"By leveraging automation and digitalisation, key components of Singapore's advanced manufacturing sector, the investment is proof that companies can boost competitiveness, (and) drive productivity growth and new solutions for the region out of Singapore."

The Tuas concentrate plant and distribution centre are both operated by Pacific Refreshments, a wholly-owned unit of The Coca-Cola Company.

They will produce and distribute more than 200 different concentrates covering the whole spectrum of brands that are consumed in the markets Coca-Cola serves. These brands include Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, Schweppes, Heaven & Earth, Minute Maid and Powerade.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2017, with the headline 'Coca-Cola opens $79m automated warehouse in Tuas'. Print Edition | Subscribe