Walmart Canada Corp projects major productivity savings offsetting its investment in a fleet of Crown Equipment Corp PC4500 pallet trucks utilising Plug Power Inc GenDrive-brand hydrogen fuel cells.

Andrew Ellis, Walmart Canada senior vice president of supply chain and logistics, addressed the subject in his 6 December remarks during the World Trade Group Ltd’s three-day ninth annual Supply Chain and Logistics Summit North America in Dallas, Texas, United States.

Ellis says the materials handling equipment for a new distribution centre in Balzac cost USD693,000 more than pallet trucks with battery power systems, but that annual operational savings of USD269,000 are anticipated.

Ellis says total savings in energy costs for Balzac operations may reach USD4.8 million by 2015.

Walmart Canada operates 325 retail outlets, has about 85,000 associates and invested CAD220 million (USD219 million) during 2009/10 to update and expand its distribution network, now with eight facilities in the provinces of Alberta and Ontario.

In the hamlet of Balzac near Calgary, Walmart Canada opened its first sustainable fresh and refrigerated food distribution centre in November 2010 using hydrogen fuel cells, solar thermal, wind power and other sustainability features and products. The major project cost about CAD115 million (USD107 million).

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Source: FuelCellToday