Mazda's new Langley parts distribution centre will mean less time and energy wasted shipping auto components to customers.
The facility, on 275th Street in the Gloucester Industrial Park, recently began operation, and on Wednesday held its grand opening.
Langley was chosen for its strategic location - close to the Port of Vancouver, the TransCanada Highway, the U.S. border and rail lines.
It's also far enough away from Vancouver that there is room to build, for the 120,000 square foot warehouse.
The new facility is part of a $20 million project to increase the number of parts warehouses across North America from four to seven.
In particular, it makes a lot more sense to ship parts from Langley than from Mississauga, Ont., Mazda's only previous warehouse location.
Regional manager Scott Rasmussen said that in the past, that meant parts were shipped in from Asia, hauled across the continent to Ontario, and then shipped back when a dealer in Western Canada needed a component.
The new change also means that 75 per cent of dealers in the west will have access to next-day delivery, up from essentially zero per cent before the new facility opened, said Eric Cagle, vice-president for Caterpillar Logistics, which manages the warehouses for Mazda.
The changes mean a lot less fossil fuel spent to move parts, the company said.
Shipping itself is changing along with the opening of the new facility.
Mazda used to use cardboard boxes for all their shipped parts, but has now switched to reusable steel cages and plastic containers. The cages fold up and can be returned to the parts depot to be refilled.
The new facility itself was designed to be greener than previous buildings, with special insulation in dock doors to keep temperatures steady, and lowpower flourescent lights linked to motion sensors.
The new warehouse has 13 new warehousing jobs, and workers from a regional training centre have also moved out to Langley, for a total of 24 workers at the new building.
There will also be seasonal and part-time jobs available.
Rasmussen said Langley was a good place to locate because all the other warehouse operations in the area mean there is a pool of potential hires.
"It's a fast growth area, so there's a lot of highly skilled people," he said.
Gloucester has attracted a number of similar distribution operations over the years, attracted by Langley's closeness to transportation links, but relatively cheaper land costs than are found in Vancouver.