Barry Callebaut’s new Global Distribution Center (GDC) in Lokeren, Belgium, has been awarded Best Foreign Investment in Flanders, after a groundbreaking ceremony celebrated the partnership between the world's largest manufacturer of cocoa and chocolate products, WDP and Stad Lokeren.
The project amounts to an investment of approximately €100m ($108m) and is located in the new E17/4 business park in Lokeren, Belgium.
Barry Callebaut said it intends to centralize its global logistics activities in Belgium in a 60,000 m² building, a size equivalent to 12 football fields, making it the ‘world’s largest chocolate warehouse’. In addition to optimizing the efficiency of the flow of goods by centralizing the storing of all packaged chocolate, the new warehouse will also boast a direct connection to the port of Antwerp for global distribution.
The logistics hub will be fully energy-neutral and will be BREEAM Outstanding-certified. In addition, the new warehouse will be fully equipped with solar panels, materials with a low life-cycle cost, geothermal energy-charging stations for electric vehicles and facilities for cyclists.
WDP (Warehouses De Pauw) will develop the logistics warehouse site with the support of its strong network of partners including Alheembouw, Willy Naessens, SSI Schaefer, AVVO architects, Istema, Miebach and Sureal.
Completion is planned for the summer of 2021. Barry Callebaut said it will be leasing this new distribution center on a long-term contract.
Masha Vis-Mertens, VP operations and supply chain organization at Barry Callebaut, said: “This award recognizes the hard work put in by the entire project team and the unique partnership we have with our partners, WDP and the city of Lokeren. The warehouse will allow us to make our operations more efficient and improve our service. From the distribution center in Lokeren, we will be able to stock our packaged products and have them shipped across the world. In other words, it is our window to the future and through it, we will continue to share our passion and expertise for Belgian chocolate with the rest of the world”.
Stefan Walgraeve, municipal councillor for industrial development in Lokeren, said: "Barry Callebaut will be the first operational company at our new industrial zone E17/4, of which ¼ of the net business surface takes around 46 ha. By doing so, Barry Callebaut will be the first ambassador of the new industrial zone, which is already sold out even before the road works have started. A true success story, thanks to the unique location in the heart of Flanders, close to the economic hubs Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels."