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New £23m Vantec facility in Sunderland opens for business
Fumio Komamura of Hitachi Transport System; Irene Lucas, chief executive of Sunderland City Council; Martin Kendall, MD of Vantec Europe, and Yokinobu Kodama, president of Vantec Corporation

New £23m Vantec facility in Sunderland opens for business

Vantec Europe’s new warehouse in Sunderland, the company’s second major investment in the city since 2012, was officially opened on Thursday 21st April.

The £23m 436,000 sq ft warehouse is the first to open on the new Hillthorn Business Park. The opening ceremony was attended by Vantec Corporation’s president Yokinobu Kodama and Fumio Komamura of Vantec’s parent company, Hitachi Transport System Ltd.

The Hillthorn warehouse, which will exclusively handle logistics work for Nissan, brings Vantec and Hitachi Transport System’s investment in the Sunderland area to almost £50m since 2012. The company opened another large scale, 417,000 sq ft warehouse on Turbine Business Park to handle work for Nissan three years ago.

The new Hillthorn Business Park building is already full, and Vantec is beginning to recruit the first of 120 jobs which can be realised due to the creation of this building.

At the opening, Kodama said: “Not only are we officially opening Vantec Europe’s newest warehouse building at Hillthorn Business Park, but also recognising Vantec’s 25th anniversary in Sunderland this year.

“During these last 25 years, we have grown along with our strategic customers, such as Nissan, to a point where we now employ over 1,100 people in the North East of England, over 900 of which are based within our Sunderland operations.”

Vantec Europe managing director Martin Kendall said: “Vantec and Hitachi Transport System have shown their commitment to the growth of the business within Sunderland and have invested almost £50m into job security and job creation within the past five years.

“It shows the company’s confidence in the North East, especially the Sunderland area, and provides stability and the ability to invest in future growth. This is now the company’s 25th year in Sunderland and it is great to see our parent companies investing with a view for the next 25 years.”

“We will be able to create a further 120 jobs over the next couple of years due to the creation of Hillthorn, and we are still on target to create the 234 jobs by 2017 following the investment in Turbine Business Park.”

Vantec Europe now owns three warehousing and logistics sites across the city with over 1m sq ft of warehousing. The company is the preferred provider of Just in Time logistics for the car manufacturer in Sunderland.

Kendall said: “Our strategy is to get all the warehousing for Nissan as close to the plant as possible to reduce logistics costs. The long term plan allows us to deliver cost-effective logistics solutions to our customer.”

The new building and the Turbine Business Park warehouse totalling almost £50m, were both built by GMI Construction Ltd within very tight timeframes. Work began on the Hillthorn Business Park site in May 2015 and the building was occupied in December 2015.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership supported infrastructure work for the new facility from its North East Investment Fund using Regional Growth Fund support.

Vantec Europe has also benefitted from its supportive relationship with Sunderland City Council, which owns Hillthorn Business Park.

Irene Lucas CBE, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, said: “Vantec’s decision to build its new giant warehouse at Hillthorn Business Park and become the first company on the site is a significant statement of confidence in the city.

“It echoes the huge commitment and confidence shown by the Japanese parent company in Sunderland and the city’s ability to deliver growth and jobs. The building of this new warehouse, so soon after the previous site at Turbine Business Park, is proof that the company sees a long-term future in Sunderland, which is fantastic both for our local economy and that of the wider North East region.”

Andrew Hodgson, chair of the North East LEP said: “Vantec Europe’s continued growth is creating new jobs and a total of around one million sq ft of warehousing in Sunderland. The company’s performance underlines the thriving productivity and ambition of the region’s automotive sector, and the continued success of both Vantec Europe and Nissan in highly competitive global markets.”

In the North East, Vantec Europe provides warehousing and logistics to Nissan Manufacturing UK, Sunderland; Komatsu UK, Birtley; Cummins Engines, Darlington; and Thorn Lighting in Spennymoor. It also has facilities in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, providing logistics services to its Southern customers.

The company is wholly owned by Hitachi Transport System of Japan.

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