Walmart Canada Launches First-of-its-Kind 60-Foot Multi-Temperature Refrigerated Trailer for Store Deliveries [Interview]

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Walmart Canada is now using a 60-foot multi-temperature refrigerated trailer in southern Ontario – the first of its kind for the giant retailer in North America. 

The company said the custom-built multi-temperature refrigerated trailer allows it to ship more freight to stores in a single trip. That helps to improve the retailer’s supply chain operations and also results in a smaller carbon footprint.

Brian Sookhai, Senior Manager, Transportation Innovation and Planning, Walmart Canada, said the trailer launched into use in July primarily in the Woodstock and Windsor, Ontario, corridor along the western Highway 401 area.

“We’ve had phenomenal feedback with it so far – a tremendous result,” he said.

Walmart Transportation Team (Image: Walmart Canada)

“Within Walmart Canada, our fleet has expanded into our first 60-foot, multi-temperature refrigerated trailer. It’s also the first of its kind for Walmart for use in North America. The custom-built, multi-temperature refrigerated trailer allows us to ship more freight to stores in a single trip and that results in improved efficiency with our supply chain and less CO2 emissions.”

Brian Sookhai

He said the trailer is the latest example of how Walmart Canada is innovating within the transportation industry and transforming what it does with its size and scale. 

The trailer also allows for more capacity than what the retailer has done in the past. For example, the trailer’s capacity is as many as 30 pallets of perishable goods, like meat and dry/wet produce, requiring different temperatures. A standard 53-foot trailer can fit about 26 pallets. 

Sookhai said eventually more of these new trailers could be in use by the company.

“We want to continue exploring more with what the trailer can do. We want to plan on how it can be better utilized within our operations. For us, sustainability is a key factor for Walmart Canada and we’d like to incorporate as much as we can moving forward within our network and as many avenues as possible to expand where we see fit.”

Walmart Fleet Associates (Image: Walmart Canada)

The trailer was launched in that particular region because the company looked at where it has the most mileage from its distribution centre to its food centres.

“When I looked at what we can do and where we can implement it, I saw there was a great fit for stores that typically weren’t paired together but with the utilization of this trailer it allows us to do so resulting in a reduction in miles as well as CO2 emissions,” added Sookhai.

“It gives us more flexibility in making sure we’re serving our stores in the most efficient manner by pairing certain stores together that we couldn’t do before and by doing that it gives us the opportunity to have fewer trucks on the road and less mileage. This trailer gives us up to 30 per cent increase with shipping more products so it definitely benefits the environment and it reduces our overall transportation cost where we can utilize the savings and pass it along to our customers.”

In 2012, Walmart initiated a pilot program with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to introduce 60-foot trailers to Ontario’s roads, explained the company. This Special Vehicle Configuration Permit pilot was successful and helped to open the door for organizations across the province to improve productivity by reducing the number of trips required to move lighter, bulkier cargo, it added.

Walmart Canada continues to accelerate its commitment to its omni-channel network across the country with the announcement Monday of a new $118-million, 430,000-square-foot fulfillment centre in Rocky View County, which is located just north of Calgary’s city limits. (Rendering: Walmart Canada)
Patricio Dallan

The retailer said it is targeting zero emissions globally by 2040 without the use of offsets and has committed to an alternatively-powered fleet in Canada by 2028. In 2021, Walmart Canada announced it was the first major retailer in Canada to offer carbon-neutral last mile delivery.

“Introducing this 60-foot, custom-built, multi-temperature refrigerated trailer into our fleet is the latest example of how Walmart Canada is continually innovating within the supply chain and pushing boundaries in the industry,” said Patricio Dallan, SVP, Supply Chain, Walmart Canada, in a statement. “When Walmart makes a change, it has a ripple effect. In this case, we’re introducing a new custom solution to the Canadian market that helps to reduce our total number of trips and emissions. We’re incredibly proud of this milestone.”

Walmart worked with Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company to customize the build of the new trailer.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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