With their recently-issued processing licence, Metro Green Logistics—already the largest logistics service provider to the Cannabis market—is one step closer to the full-service supply chain solution they see the market needs.
Combining decades of experience in warehousing and order fulfillment, transportation solutions, and contract packaging, Metro Supply Chain Group has taken a more unique approach to the cannabis industry in Canada.
Rather than focusing on cannabis production, the company entered the legal space several years ago doing what they do best; providing warehousing, packaging, and delivery solutions for several licensed producers and two provinces.
Now the company is one step closer to providing a full suite of services with their new processing licence from Health Canada—operating as a dedicated division solely focused on the needs of the Cannabis market Metro Green Logistics—that will allow them to store finished, sealed and tax stamped cases of cannabis from any Licensed Producer other producers at their Mississauga facility, as well as distribute that product to provinces across the country.
In 2017 Metro Supply Chain established Metro Green Logistics, which has been offering a variety of solutions ranging from warehousing and eCommerce fulfillment for the SQDC in Quebec and the NSLC in Nova Scotia, as well as primary and secondary packaging on-site for licensed producers.
With their new processing licence, they can store packaged goods in the new Mississauga facility and then distribute them to various provinces. The company says the service is being offered on a flexible, transactional, shared resources basis which is very beneficial to Licensed Producers as they can preserve precious capital for brand development, manufacturing or inventory investments , freeing up valuable space in their own facilities for production rather than storage.
“Given the shortage of Health Canada-approved warehousing and distribution space in Canada available to licensed producers, Metro Green secured its own Health Canada Standard Processing License on November 26, 2021, which allows us to store and distribute sealed, tax stamped recreational cannabis for all licensed producers destined to all provincial wholesalers and retailers,” explains Richard Cranwill, Vice President of Metro Green.
“Our Mississauga site is temperature-controlled, fully racked and WMS enabled, and we will be commencing operations as of January 4, 2022, for a broad range of licensed producers.”
For both Nova Scotia and Quebec, Metro Green manages a warehouse for the province, doing both order fulfillment for stores, as well as eCommerce fulfillment for each province’s online sales. While Nova Scotia takes ownership of all product that comes through the warehouse that is managed by Metro Green, Quebec uses a system where producers maintain ownership of the product that is then coordinated and “cross-docked” by Metro Green before making final delivery to the provincial retail stores.
These relationships, operating now for more than three years, have given the Metro Green team unique insight into some of the supply chain challenges, and has positioned them well to run their own private warehouse, says Cranwill.
Although initially many producers, especially larger ones, tried to integrate as many aspects of the supply chain as possible under their own banner, increasingly they are learning to outsource aspects of the production process.
“The next natural step for us was to help our customers with some of the pain points they have. Many of them didn’t have room to store product. One big advantage we’re going to bring to the market from this site is consolidated shipping to the wholesalers or provinces. The market itself is still searching for efficiencies, still searching for ways to compete against the black market, still searching for ways to continue to reduce their cost of operation.”
In addition to warehousing and packaging, Metro Green offers full transportation management for licensed producers through a network of in-house and contracted secure carriers. This includes not only distribution from their Ontario warehouse to various provincial distributors or retailers, but also high security transportation for things like irradiation services, and—in those provinces where it is or will be allowed—third-party delivery services for retailers.
“We can pick it up from your store with our secure delivery service, and deliver it to your customer’s home,” he says.
As the industry becomes more streamlined, especially as provincial supply chains get more refined, Cranwill sees a lot of opportunity for cannabis producers to outsource many aspects of warehousing and distribution.
“I think this is the first step in allowing licensed producers an alternative to doing their own supply chain fulfillment. A lot of the LPs have had to do everything from day one. So we got involved to offer a service to those LPs that don’t want to focus on storing and picking products to ship to stores and instead let somebody who is dedicated to that side of the business take care of that process.”