Consumer giant Unilever has unveiled a Ksh500 million ultra-modern warehouse in a bid to ease product tracking, address the risk of losses and manage carbon footprints.

The 23,000 square metre warehouse located in Nairobi’s industrial area has a capacity of over 10,000 pallets, allowing the company to store, process, and ship its products more efficiently.

Unilever, which makes products like the Omo detergent, Vaseline and Knorr spices previously handled its logistics in a 6,000-pallet off-site warehouse.

“Unilever aims to close the gap between higher demand and shortage of supply through this new facility,” said Unilever Kenya’s managing director Luck Ochieng.

French logistics group Bollore has deployed its IT system managing processes at the facility and will oversee it’s running on behalf of Unilever.

Mr Ochieng noted the company previously incurred product losses in logistical processes between the warehouse and customers alongside late deliveries due to traffic jams.

“This on-site facility will enable us to reduce carbon emissions, employ an additional 200 staff and deliver efficiently locally, as well as to Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania,” he said during the commissioning ceremony recently.

Unilever’s Head of Supply Chain in Africa Christian Byron noted that setting up the facility was a deliberate business decision to support the local industry by sourcing the raw materials locally.

“Around 70 percent of raw and packaging materials that Unilever uses for production in the continent are made in Africa which has a positive impact on access and affordability of our products,” he noted.

Unilever recently revamped its supply chain to include more small and medium-sized entities run by the youth, women and people with disabilities in a push to reduce income inequalities.

The firm said the plan is to ensure that everyone who directly provides goods and services to it earns at least a living wage or income by 2030.

Coivd-19 has widened the social inequities, with Unilever maintaining that collective action is needed to offer opportunities for everyone.

Unilever wants to support about 5 million SMEs in its retail value chain to grow their business through access to skills, finance and technology by 2025. This will be achieved through providing them with access to digital tools and financial inclusion and services.