Tesco Lotus has opened a temporary distribution centre at Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (Bitec) to ensure that essential products will reach its stores in the capital as flooding threats mount
Distribution director Dusit Panmanee said the hypermarket chain had rented 20,000 square metres for 20 days at Bitec, with a capacity to handle up to 500,000 cases of products a day.
|Tesco Lotus staff arrange pallets at the hypermarket chain’s temporary distribution centre at Bitec yesterday. KITJA APICHONROJAREK|
After 20 days, the company expects to reopen its two distribution centres that had been closed due to water inundation in Wang Noi district, Ayutthaya, and in Sam Khok district, Pathum Thani.
Another two distribution centres in Bang Bua Thong and Lam Luk Ka are also closed. Products worth one billion baht kept at the four flooded distribution centres cannot be delivered to its stores.
Apart from Bitec, the company has also established temporary distribution hubs in Surat Thani, Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai and Lamphun. One more will be added in Ubon Ratchathani soon.
James Scott, the company's operations director, said customer demand was rising substantially while product deliveries were being delayed due to the flooded roads. The company is seeking other means of transport including trains and airplanes.
It has also been increasing supplies of essential products by importing 3 million litres of drinking water and 8 million packages of noodles from Malaysia.
Tesco Lotus also is using the global sourcing team from its UK parent to import water, noodles, canned fish, eggs and UHT milk from Malaysia, China and Vietnam.
Mr Dusit said product shortages at its stores were now easing and each store had about 90% of products available on shelves.
The company has closed about 100 stores, mainly Lotus Express outlets, because of the severe floods.
Big C Supercentre Plc, meanwhile, has opened seven temporary distribution centres to shorten transport times. They are located in Suwintawong in Bangkok, four in Chon Buri and one each in Chanthaburi and Chachoengsao.
Spokeswoman Kudatara Nagaviroj said the chain had also set up a distribution hub in Ubon Ratchathani and Khon Kaen for the Northeast and would set up another in Krabi for the South.