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Army engineers break ground on U.S. military's largest distribution center in Europe

Apr 20, 2010

By Justin M. Ward (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District)

GERMERSHEIM ARMY DEPOT, Germany -- U.S. military and German community leaders broke ground March 30 on a 250,000-square-foot logistics distribution center that seeks to consolidate under one roof the main logistics operations of the Defense Distribution Depot Europe.

When complete in 2012, the new warehouse and administrative center will replace several 1960s-era facilities that do not allow for high-rise, mechanized storage and that are dispersed over a warehouse campus, meaning that much of the work - including container stuffing and air-pallet building - is done outside, said Col. John Kem, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District, which will oversee the construction.

"This isn't optimal because it could adversely impact the support to the warfighter," Kem said at the event. "We hear you. And we're here to help."

The new facility will include a general-purpose warehouse with a cross-docking operations area and a 26-foot clearance for stacking. In addition to new features such as a hazardous material storage area, a dispatcher transport control area, a utilities room, and administrative space for up to 124 employees, the facility will include new truck aprons and pavement, modern fire protection and communications systems, and modern green-building innovations and antiterrorism/force protection measures.

"Yes, your days will still start at midnight and your work will still be demanding," Kem said to the distribution center employees at the event, who provide support to all Defense Department activities in on three continents. "But operations will be more efficient. They'll be more reliable. And your work environment will be more comfortable. That's our promise."

Defense Distribution Center commander Marine Brig. Gen. Peter Talleri said at the event that the facility will support U.S. European Command transformation plans by reducing the Department of Defense footprint by 40,000 gross square feet and will also result in several million dollars of savings because of an increased space for forward stock positioning and a unique, energy-saving design feature that includes a Bio-Mass Heating System.

"The cost avoidance associated with the facility and its streamlined processes will ensure that DDDE is further able to provide seamless joint theater distribution, and innovative support of DLA and Service managed materiel to all four service component warfighters serving throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East," said Talleri.

Construction of the facility will be executed through a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Landesbetrieb Bau Landau contract, which plans to employ local subcontractors to do much of the work.

"What's special for us is that we'll work hand-in-hand with LBB Landau to contract with some local construction firms to complete the work," said Kem. "We don't have a lot of projects in this part of Germany, so we're excited to enhance the local economy in that regard."

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