Wildberries plans to restore the warehouse that burned down in Shushary on January 13 in the near future. The head of the company, Tatyana Bakalchuk, spoke about this in an interview with RIA Novosti.
According to her, St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region are an important logistics hub for the online marketplace: shipments go there, which will have to be distributed not only in this district, but also continue further to the north.
Damage from the fire is estimated by insurers at 10-11 billion rubles (more than $100 million). According to Bakalchuk, the goods in the warehouse were insured during storage and transportation. Regardless of this, the company has already begun to pay compensation to sellers whose goods were burned in the warehouse so that they could continue to purchase goods and sell: already on January 15, the first payments were made to approximately 50% of sellers, and other amounts were paid on January 29. Payments will continue as data is collected. The number of sellers, according to her, on the marketplace did not change after this incident.
The burned Wildberries warehouse in Shushary, according to Bakalchuk, complied with all fire safety standards, as evidenced by the prompt evacuation of all employees - there were more than 1,000 people in the warehouse at the time of the fire. According to the head of the company, they repeatedly conducted training fire drills, so that during a real fire everyone knew what to do.
But for the future, according to Bakalchuk, it is planned to strengthen fire safety at all logistics facilities of the company, and increase the number of fire extinguishers. Moreover, Emergency Situations Ministry employees will be on duty there regularly.
According to her, the company consulted with experts, and they recommended, in addition to all the measures taken, to create fire brigades, or to enter into agreements with the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
“It’s clear that we have a fire extinguishing system, pumps, alarms, and so on. But we want people to be directly on duty at all warehouses. And now, in almost all warehouses, teams are gathering, or contracts are being concluded with contractors, and people will now be on duty there on a permanent basis - career employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, who will regularly make rounds. This is our own initiative. In addition, we have increased the number of fire extinguishers beyond the norm,” Bakalchuk noted.
She also said that she learned about the fire within half an hour of the fire. From that point on and for the next 3-4 days, they had a continuous online conference, during which colleagues from different departments connected and reported incoming information.
“Well, what kind of reaction could a person who runs a company have? At first, of course, shock. You are trying to comprehend what happened. I immediately requested a consultation from one of my friends, a fire safety specialist. He assessed the situation and said that, most likely, the warehouse would completely burn down. Based on these parameters, we began to quickly take action. Our team went to St. Petersburg, I was in Moscow, because I had to constantly keep my finger on the pulse. In such situations, the ability to immediately pull myself together helps me; after all, the company is 20 years old this year, and this is not the first crisis we have faced. Crises are different every time, and we have a roughly worked out scenario, a mechanism for how and what to do. Relatively speaking, first we decide, then we worry,” said Bakalchuk.
Let us remind you that the Wildberries warehouse in Shushary (St. Petersburg district) with an area of over 100,000 square meters caught fire on January 13, and the fire covered 70,000 square meters. The open burning was extinguished only the next day.