Walmart gains new supply chain advantage

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Walmart gains new supply chain advantage

By Louisa Hallett - 08/15/2018
Massive Gulf Coast facility reduces supply chain disruptions.

The next time workers at West Coast ports go on strike Walmart won't have to worry as much as some of its competitors. That's because the company just opened a massive import distribution center in Mobile, Ala., that allows it to diversify the company’s supply chain infrastructure and lessen dependence on West Coast ports.

The $135 million distribution center will help the company mitigate risk associated with union workers striking and disrupting flow of goods, helping Walmart to efficiently serve more markets throughout the midwest, southeast and mid-atlantic. It will also be cheaper to transport goods through the recently widened Panama canal than bring in on west coast and rely on trucks or rail to get inland.

“We are excited about how this facility will help us better serve our customers across the South and beyond, while creating a positive economic impact locally through job creation and future development,” said Jeff Breazeale, Walmart Vice President, Direct Import Logistics. “We are grateful to the State of Alabama, Mobile County, the City of Mobile, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and the Alabama State Port Authority for the warm welcome we have received here, and we look forward to a strong partnership with the community for years to come.”

The center is 2.6 million square feet and is Walmart’s sixth import center in the U.S. The company says that the center will help serve approximately 700 Walmart stores in Alabama, Mississippi and beyond.

When fully operational, the distribution center will employ more than 750 full-time associates with wages currently averaging $16.50 an hour. Salaried associates in Mobile are expected to earn $50,000 or more a year and will be eligible for additional annual incentives. The center’s location complements Walmart’s real estate presence of more than 145 Walmart and Sam’s Club locations in Alabama, employing nearly 38,000 associates across the state.

“A major foundation of our company’s strong culture is our commitment to ‘strive for excellence.’ My team and I are excited to offer so many residents the opportunity to build a career,” said Barry Westbrooks, General Manager, Mobile Distribution Center. “Through two successful job fairs, we have filled more than 550 associate positions thus far, and look forward to the positive impact this facility will have on our associates and the customers we are fortunate to serve.”