A NEW £9m warehouse project has been unveiled by a major food firm, securing more than 400 jobs.
The extension to the distribution centre at PepsiCo in Peterlee is good news for the long-term future of the site and is expected to cut back the distance its transport fleet cover by more than 372,800 miles a year.
The new facility has tripled the size of its storage facility on the North-East Industrial Estate and employs 68 workers, with the plant handling some of the crisps and snacks produced by the neighbouring and sister Walkers factory, which has a further 367 staff.
The warehouse also handles oats produced by Quakers, which is also a brand owned by the firm, after they are transported down from a base in Scotland.
The new loading bay has been designed to take double-decker trucks, which will allow it to cut the number of trips made to distribute stock, increasing the normal load from 26 pallets to 44.
The firm is also to take on new extra-long lorries, which will be trailed by companies following approval from the Government, with the yard of the £9.3m Peterlee Regional Distribution Centre reinforced to take the weight of the larger vehicles.
Jane Burkitt, PepsiCo UK’s senior supply chain director, said: “This will secure the long-term future of site and this event signals that, rather than job creation.
“We’re seeing impressive growth across our brands, including Quaker Oats, which we store here in Peterlee.”
A series of environmentally friendly features were included in the new building, including rainwater harvested fleet wash for its vehicles, energy efficient cranes, low heating requirements and lighting which responds to need.
Construction waste created during the building work was recycled, including packaging from the cranes being used to create an on-site allotment so workers can grow their own fruit and vegetables.
It will also help the firm hit its zero-waste for landfill target, with all organic water from the on-site canteen to be used in composting.
Easington MP Grahame Morris said: “I’m delighted that this significant investment signals PepsiCo’s continued commitment to Peterlee and the 400 people it employs in the area.
“I also welcome the green initiatives that will ensure this is an environmentally, as well as economically sustainable, investment.”