Multimodal logistics service provider Europa Worldwide Group has appointed Alec Kirkbride, the former national building manager of supermarket chain Aldi Stores U.K., as the head of property for its new £60 million state-of-the-art logistics facility being built at Midlands Logistics Park in Corby, England.
Once the construction is completed, the new facility will become Europa’s largest such storage facility in the U.K., while also doubling the company’s warehousing portfolio. Europa, in its statement, stated that the building will cater to high-quality institutional specifications, including an above-market standard of an 18-meter high ceiling that can accommodate three floors of mezzanines.
Bringing Kirkbride into the management team will help expedite the facility’s construction, as Kirkbride is said to come in with extensive experience in the construction segment, having managed several large-scale national infrastructure projects and complex commercial sites, while playing a pivotal role in negotiating multi-million-pound procurement contracts.
At 715,000 square feet, the logistics facility is very expansive. Europa has mentioned that the warehouse’s construction work will be completed by June 2020. “I’m currently heavily involved in the Corby build, especially at this stage of proceedings. Once operational, the day-to-day management of the warehouse will be handed over to the warehouse director, Maria-Torrent March,” said Kirkbride.
“My role as head of property covers all of the Europa real estate, including our warehouses and an extensive network of offices. I’ll be looking at how we can drive business efficiencies, reviewing current procurement methods and suggesting ways in which we can inject new ideas to add value to our current business model,” he continued.
Europa’s fortunes this year have been tremendously fruitful; it is the best year in the company’s 50-year history in terms of turnover and profit. The turnover rose by 22% this year to £220 million and profit to over £6 million.
“We’re delighted to announce this huge investment in our logistics operation at a time of massive growth at Europa,” said Andrew Baxter, managing director at Europa Worldwide Group. “This is the single biggest investment we have ever made since I acquired the business in 2013. It demonstrates our ambition to strengthen our third-party logistics operation at a time of huge market growth, particularly for e-commerce logistics.”
Though Brexit has led several logistics stakeholders to vent their frustration, Baxter is amongst the Brexiters who believe that the country’s divorce of Europe will only lead to better business. However, Baxter has commented that Europa spent over £1 million on Brexit preparations, which he admitted has become complicated due to the deadline being pushed off multiple times over this year.
Baxter hopes for a more streamlined economic environment post-Brexit, as it will cater exclusively to British business interests rather than pander to the collective good of the European Union. In the context of Europa, Baxter does expect disruptions immediately at the onset of Brexit, which puts Europa’s management restructuring and business future-proofing in perspective.
With e-commerce’s share of the retail consumption pie getting bigger every year, investing in futuristic warehouses can expedite freight movement through the supply chains, helping businesses improve their operational efficiency. Europa’s warehouses offer a wide range of capabilities, including ecommerce fulfilment, inventory management, packing and labelling, quality control and critical parts management.