With 235 thousand m3, the new Sonae MC Distribution Centre building, inaugurated today in Azambuja by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, is the largest refrigerated depot in Portugal. The Opening Ceremony was attended by Claúdia Azevedo, Sonae’s CEO, Luís Moutinho, Sonae MC’s CEO, Miguel Águas, Sonae MC’s Director, João Galamba, Deputy Secretary of State and Energy, and Silvino Lúcio, current vice-president of the Azambuja Municipality and future mayor.

The project results from an investment made by Sonae MC for the expansion of the Azambuja and Maia depots, the latter scheduled for 2022, at around 50 million euros, spread between structure and equipment. The expansion of Sonae MC's Distribution Centre in Azambuja created over 300 new jobs and increases both the ability and the speed of supply to Continente stores in the Centre and South regions of the country.

With a total of 70 thousand m2, Azambuja’s Sonae MC Distribution Centre allows for the reception and storage of products from all over the country, without losing their freshness, and distribute them throughout the Centre and South of Mainland Portugal, Madeira and the Azores. More than 9.000 pallets of products are shipped daily, to supply Continente stores.

The project to expand the Azambuja’s depot includes the integration of the new Fish Centre, which receives the entire operation, that used to be in Santarém, and increases the supply capacity. It also includes the new refrigerated fish packaging and preparation (including salted cod) unit. Sonae MC's goal is to centre the shipment of fresh products to stores in the south of the country in the same place, collecting fresh products at dawn and delivering orders to stores within 24 hours.

The new depot was built with sustainable concerns, from design to maintenance, through construction and operation, thus enabling the LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) international certification by the United States Green Building Council, one of the most recognized worldwide entities on Sustainable Real Estate Projects’ Certification.

The new building is equipped with innovative, more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly refrigeration and insulation systems. The joint delivery of fresh products allows for 20% less deliveries to stores, which means a reduction of 1.400.000 km travelled per year, the equivalent to a saving of 1.100 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The building's design also includes the necessary conditions for the implementation of automated systems that could become a reality in the very near future.

With 6.900 solar panels, a 3MWp power and an annual production of 4GWh, Sonae MC, through ‘Elegone Energia’, ensures 30% of the Azambuja photovoltaic plant’s power. With an area of ​​20 thousand m2, this is one of the largest coverage self-consumption power plants in the Iberian Peninsula and which, annually, avoids the production of over 1.000 tonnes of CO2.

According to Miguel Águas, director of Sonae MC, “the expansion of Azambuja’s Depot decisively supports the reinforcement of our position as market leaders, giving a better response to our customers, suppliers and employees. With this new building, we were able to improve the conditions in which more than 1.100 people work here, by improving the ergonomic conditions of their functions and the quality of the social areas. It also allows us a greater production volume, speed and freshness in the delivery to our stores and guarantees a substantial improvement in the sustainability of the operation, avoiding the production of more than 2.000 tonnes of CO2, between electrical production and optimization of transport routes”.

Over the past 10 years, Sonae MC's turnover has grown at a rate of 5% per year, as a result of increased sales in current stores and expansion through the opening of new stores. Sonae MC currently has more than 1.000 Continente, Continente Modelo, Continente Bom Dia, Continente Online, Meu Super, Go Natural, Bagga and other adjacent format stores.

Sonae MC’s logistics consists of 5 depots, with a total area of ​​200 thousand m2 and employing 2.500 employees. Annually, 300 million boxes circulate, which are delivered to around 1.300 stores in Portugal.

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