Opening ‘The Chocolate Box’

The Barry Callebaut Group, cocoa and chocolate manufacturer, has opened ‘The Barry Callebaut Chocolate Box’, its new global distribution centre in Lokeren, Belgium.

The Chocolate Box is described as the world’s largest chocolate warehouse and will be the logistical hub for all packed Belgian chocolate and decoration products, produced in Barry Callebaut’s chocolate factories in Wieze and Halle, Belgium.

The Chocolate Box is the result of a successful partnership between Barry Callebaut, the real estate developer WDP and the city of Lokeren. With a total investment amount of €100 million, it is the largest investment Barry Callebaut has ever made in its operations network. The Chocolate Box increases the efficiency of Barry Callebaut’s global logistics and will allow the Group to serve customers even faster.

At Lokeren, the warehouse Is ideally located near the E17 highway, facilitating carrier transport throughout Western Europe and with direct access to the Port of Antwerp for global shipping. Construction began in the summer of 2019. Less than 24 months later, the building, spanning a total surface of 12 football fields, was  completed. In the fully automated high bay warehouse, 41 metres high, up to 125 000 pallets can be stored at a constant temperature of 18°C. Over 120 employees, of whom 40 are in newly created positions, are securing smooth operations.

First building in the Benelux with “BREEAM Outstanding” certification
The Barry Callebaut Chocolate Box is also one of the world’s the most sustainable chocolate warehouses. The Chocolate Box is the first building in the Benelux with a “BREEAM Outstanding” certification, the highest standard in sustainable logistics. The building is fully energy-positive, as it can completely fulfill its own energy consumption.

In order to achieve this certificate, the newest techniques in sustainable building have been used: solar panels, air treatment groups, rain water and heat recovery, humidity control, insulation and geothermal energy. The wellbeing of the employees, an essential part of the “BREEAM Outstanding” certification, is ensured through access to natural daylight throughout the building, zones for relaxation and storage facilities for e-bikes.

Peter Boone, chief executive of the Barry Callebaut Group, said: “The Chocolate Box is a milestone for Barry Callebaut. From Lokeren, all packed chocolate products – mainly under its Belgian chocolate brand Callebaut – will be shipped to the rest of the world. The Chocolate Box is an example of how we execute our smart growth strategy, increasing efficiency and serving our customers in a more sustainable way.”