The £4 million extension to frozen fruit and vegetable specialist Ardo UK’s state-of-the-art cold store at Charing, near Ashford in Kent has been formally opened and is ready for business.
The 16,826 sq ft new cold store features new loading docks able to accommodate double-decker trailers, space-efficient mobile racking and sensor-controlled, low-energy LED lighting. The extension takes the site’s overall storage capacity from 18,500 to 22,500 pallets covering a total of nearly 90,000 sg ft.
It was formally opened on Friday 14 November by local MP Damian Green and Cllr John Link, the Mayor of Ashford. Joining them at the opening ceremony were customers, suppliers, staff and representatives of organisations such as the British Frozen Food Federation.
As well as a ribbon-cutting, the event included tours of the new cold store and marshaling areas. The buffet and refreshments were chosen to highlight the quality and versatility of the frozen produce supplied by Ardo.
“We were delighted so many people were able to join us for the formal opening of our new enlarged and improved cold store facility,” said Jon Barnes Ardo UK’s Supply Chain and Inventory Director.
“Completion of the project – which was carried out on time and on budget – means we now have both more space and improved handling facilities to offer customers who value our strategic location just off the M20 and close to the Port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel.
“After a record performance by the business last year, added cold store capacity complements our successful frozen fruit and vegetable business as well as the ever-expanding storage element of Ardo UK and positions us for further growth in 2015.
“I am grateful to all those who made this new development possible and to everyone who joined us to celebrate its opening.”
Ardo UK opened its current site in Charing in 2000, expanding it in 2010 with a new factory, packaging store and cold store extension. The company was named Frozen Food Manufacturer of the Year in 2013 and won the Business Commitment to the Environment Category in the 2012 Kent Excellence in Business Awards.
Ashford MP Damian Green commented: “I am delighted to see Ardo investing and expanding its operations in the area. It’s a great vote of confidence in the workforce and in Ashford as a location for successful international business.”
Work on the new development began in January 2014 with the bulk of construction carried out by Chalcroft. Other suppliers included Ardo Group refrigeration specialist SKT and mobile racking from Storax.