It is anticipated the fully automated ‘mega hub’ will be built within the next three years and will mark a significant step forward in the evolution of glass packaging supply chains in the UK.
While the exact location is yet to be confirmed, the hub will have around 170,000 pallet storage spaces for customers’ bottles filled at Encirc’s Cheshire plant, as well as others which have been filled elsewhere and imported to the UK.
Encirc’s parent company, Vidrala, is planning to invest around GBP 75 million in the hub, which will feature state-of-the-art robotic case picking, with the prepared pallets able to be delivered directly to retailers across the UK and Europe. By going straight to retail and reducing the reliance on regional distribution centres, the hub is set to significantly reduce lorry movements nationwide and achieve notable carbon savings across supply chains in the UK.
The new hub will complement Encirc’s existing automated warehouse in Elton, which is one of the largest of its kind in Europe with more than 250,000 pallet spaces.
Adrian Curry, Managing Director at Encirc, said, “Our new national distribution hub will represent the evolution of drink supply chains in the UK and Europe. This will be a huge leap forward for how the UK drinks industry imports and distributes key brands.
“At Encirc, we already have the most advanced, complete beverages supply model for glass in the world, where we manufacture, store, fill and distribute all from one site. So, this is the obvious next step for us. With the backing of Vidrala, we’re taking this long-term decision to ensure that we’re best placed in the market to offer our brand owner customers an unrivalled bottling and distribution service.
“This will be another milestone moment in Encirc’s story of growth and evolution, as well as the carbon reduction strategy for the wider industry.”
The announcement comes following Encirc announcing it will increase its wine filling capacity by more than 75 million litres per year, while also stating its intention to decarbonise its furnaces by beginning to use sustainable fuels, such as hydrogen, in its melting process.
These plans form an integral part of innovative developments, which will create more than 200 new jobs at Encirc over a number of years.