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An example of one of the robots set to be used at the new facility Credit: Swisslog

XPO Logistics is developing what it claims is the “digital warehouse of the future” in the UK.

The 63,800sq metre distribution centre at Segro’s East Midlands Gateway Logistics Park in Leicestershire will be developed with together with Nestlé.

The facility will service the food giant’s consumer packaged goods and provide XPO with a “testbed” for technology prototypes.

Managing director of XPO supply chain in Europe Richard Cawston said he looked forward to an “inventive collaboration” with Nestlé, famous for brands like Kit-Kat.

“Nestlé has entrusted XPO with the digital architecture for its future vision, together, we will create limitless opportunities to explore new technologies in a state-of-the-art environment,” he said.

“The new East Midlands centre will operate as a think tank and a launch pad for XPO innovations, with far-reaching impacts on the way business is done.”

Set to open in 2020, the DC will be equipped with advanced sorting systems, automation, robotics and sustainability features, including LED lighting and rainwater harvesting.

Member of Parliament for North West Leicestershire Andrew Brigden described the partnership as excellent new for the region and its economy.

“That two global giants should choose to locate their state-of-the-art, environmentally sustainable facility here shows that this region is a great place for businesses to invest,” said Mr Bridgden. “It’s very positive for the development of our local economy.”

Alongside its close proximity to the M1 and East Midlands Airport, an onsite rail freight terminal will provide access to Felixstowe, London Gateway, Southampton, and the Channel Tunnel.

Nestlé supply chain director David Hix said he was “thrilled” to be working with XPO in developing its “flagship digital warehouse”

“This is a world-first investment for Nestlé that builds on a century and a half of proud history in this country,” he added. “Our partnership with XPO will encourage innovation and experimentation in our UK logistics operations and help futureproof our business.

“We will be able to be even more responsive for our customers across our brands, which include some of the most recognisable in the world.”

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