Toll has begun construction on its new Melbourne healthcare logistics facility in Melbourne Airport Business Park. MHD speaks with Perry Singh, President of Toll Government and Defence, to learn more.
Melbourne has long been the preeminent city for advanced healthcare manufacturing and research. This is not too surprising, given Melbourne’s reputation for top-class universities and ability to draw in the best academic and industry talent to work together on projects that cut across industry and academia.
But in recent years, its lead in this sector – as well as the importance in the public’s eye of the sector itself – has increased by orders of magnitude.
It’s not just due to COVID-19 and its aftermath – although obviously that underscored the importance of vaccines and other advanced medical manufacturing capabilities for Australian health security.
Leading the way, of course, has been CSL, which has turbocharged its manufacturing and research operations in Melbourne. In late 2021, the preeminent manufacturing industry magazine, Manufacturers’ Monthly, reported on CSL’s expanding footprint in Melbourne:
“[A spokesperson for CSL] said that over the last decade CSL has invested over $1 billion in expanding its Broadmeadows site, with recent investment of $900 million for a new Base Fractionation facility on that site. A new state-of-the-art, cell-based influenza vaccine facility for Seqirus has been developed at Tullamarine, with $800 million invested. Further to that, new global headquarters and R&D facilities are currently under construction in the heart of Melbourne’s biomedical precinct.”
Now, in an exciting leap forward for the Victorian healthcare and logistics sector, Toll Group has fully committed to ensuring Melbourne’s medical manufacturing capability is supported by a state-of-the-art healthcare logistics operation.
On 1 September Toll Group, together with Melbourne Airport, broke ground on the new facility – officially commencing the onset of construction, located within Melbourne Airport Business Park, and strategically located next door to the above-mentioned Seqirus facility.
This new addition will notably offer cutting-edge pharmaceutical storage in the heart of Victoria.
The forthcoming 10,000 square-metre facility stands as a testament to Toll’s forward-thinking vision, with temperature controls aptly suited for the warehousing and distribution of a broad spectrum of medical supplies. These range from biotech pharmaceuticals to life-saving vaccines, anti-venoms, essential medical devices, and accessible over-the-counter medications.
This establishment will also stand apart for its eco-conscious design. Targeting to be Melbourne airport’s first-of-its-kind 5 Star Green Star building, it comes adorned with solar panels and boasts charging infrastructure for both electric cars and large-scale trucks, signalling an era of sustainable growth in the logistics domain.
Jai McDermott, Melbourne Airport’s Chief of Property, is enthusiastic for the collaboration. “We’re delighted to pave the way for Toll’s ambitious foray into medical warehousing,” Jai says. “This specialised facility ensures the seamless delivery of patient-critical products to Victorians.”
Just as importantly, Jai sees the project as a concrete affirmation of Melbourne Airport’s ongoing green initiatives. “This landmark warehouse will set a precedent as Melbourne Airport’s inaugural five-star green star building, marking a significant stride towards our commitment to net zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2025,” Jai says.
Equally enthused, Perry Singh, President of Toll Government and Defence – which encompasses the Toll Healthcare business – sheds light on the broader vision for the facility.
“This venture is a testament to Toll’s unwavering commitment towards introducing innovative warehouse management solutions in response to the evolving healthcare landscape,” Perry says. “Our facility’s prime location ensures unparalleled flexibility, speed, and convenience for our esteemed clientele. We’ve meticulously designed this facility to resonate with our customers’ unique needs, ensuring safe storage and management of essential pharmaceuticals and other medical products.”
In a decisive move, Toll Healthcare will operate primarily from this new hub for its Victorian work, having secured a lease agreement with Melbourne Airport for a minimum tenure of 10 years. With doors set to open in 2024, CMW takes the reins in designing and executing the construction of this state-of-the-art facility.
TOLL STEPS UP TO MEET THE CHALLENGE
As Perry Singh says, the new Melbourne facility is just the latest in a string of developments aimed at supporting a dynamic native healthcare industry with the logistical support it needs.
“It’s an exciting development and will be a superb addition for our business, bringing our number of dedicated Healthcare warehousing and distribution facilities nationally to six,” Perry says. “This provides us with a solid platform for growth and an ability to respond and scale up at pace to whatever needs our partners might have.
“This investment of over $A20 million reflects our commitment to creating advanced warehouse management solutions to meet the changing dynamics in the healthcare sector. The facility, and its excellent location, provides greater flexibility, convenience, and speed to market for our customers – and that is of utmost importance to us.”
Discerning the importance of healthcare and pharmaceuticals to Australian healthcare security and prosperity, Toll Group has worked overtime to provide the infrastructure and support its partners will require before such support has even been requested.
That’s why Toll chose the Melbourne Airport location for this development – nestled among key industry partners and with proximity to Melbourne’s burgeoning pharmaceuticals manufacturing precinct.
“Strategically, we think this location enables us to work smarter and more efficiently with key industry partners – and that’s exciting,” Perry says.
SAFE, SUSTAINABLE, AND STATE-OF-THE-ART
Perry notes that the entire Toll Healthcare business is focused on growth and customer satisfaction. That seems an obvious enough objective – but what does that mean in practice?
He offers a simple answer: “Working smarter and more efficiently – in every sense of those words.” And to work smarter and more efficiently, you need a facility carefully tailored and rigorously tested to support unique customer requirements.
This is doubly important in the healthcare and medicines logistics space, where quality control is of paramount concern. The facility will store and manage critical pharmaceuticals and products including medical devices, vaccines, and consumer health products. It will of course be TGA licensed and GMP compliant.
The 10,000 square-metre temperature-controlled venue will warehouse and distribute medical supplies including bio-tech pharmaceuticals, vaccines, anti-venoms, medical devices, and over-the-counter medicines.
Perry points out that Toll’s new facility goes above and beyond in terms of efficiency and resiliency.
“We will be implementing traditional racking and VNA – very narrow aisle – to yield high floor space utilisation to again drive efficiency,” he says. “This will allow the investment and space allocation into 1500sqm for the cool-room, as well as 69sqm for freezer storage which allows us to prepare to meet any future storage and distribution requirements to service a need on the scale of another COVID-19 rollout – should that be required. Our freezer will have the capability to store products at minus 80 degrees Celsius.”
It’s evident, in other words, that Toll has game-planned for the unexpected, and put flexibility and resilience front-and-centre of its design and planning strategy.
But resilience extends beyond catering for unknown – and unknowable – logistical contingencies. True resilience must form part of the facility’s internal design, architecture, and operations. Long term resilience – or sustainability – necessitates working as best as possible with the surrounding natural environment.
Indeed, upon completion the new facility is hoping to achieve a 5 Star Green Star Buildings rating
“We believe the facility will be the airport’s first five-star green building featuring solar panels and charging infrastructure for both electric vehicles and trucks,” Perry notes with pride. “The 5 Green Star rating is achieved with a combination of ‘green power’ purchased from Melbourne airport off their own solar farm, a 60kW Solar system, and water harvesting for landscape and washroom use.”
Not only that, but the facility will be safer and more congenial for the people working within it – ensuring a sustainable workforce, too.
“The facility is being built with safety and the needs of our people firmly in mind. The site will provide great amenity to the team working out at Tullamarine, with board and meeting room facilities, a Wellness Centre, and End of Trip facilities.
“At Toll, we’re safety obsessed, so there will be three recessed drop deck docks as part of the facility – which are the safest docks for unloading. There will also be a large hardstand with a 15-metre awning for all weather operations to further ensure safer operations.”
With so much energy and excitement surrounding the new Melbourne facility, it’s easy to forget that construction began only last month. It’s a testament to the breadth of vision and imagination – and commitment to detail – that Toll has brought to bear on this project that readers could be forgiven for thinking the facility was already built and in full swing.
Before you know it, it will be. And we can’t wait to see it in action.
For more information on Toll Healthcare, click here.