AROUND 1,300 jobs are set to be created in South Yorkshire.
Hermes, the consumer delivery specialist, is to build a state-of-the-art automated parcel distribution in Barnsley.
Due for completion in 2022, the £60 million development will be the largest of its kind in Europe and will create around 1,300 jobs.
Up to 800 people will work on site during shifts. The 363,000 sq ft facility, named Colossus, will initially process 1.3 million parcels daily; boosting the company’s overall capacity to 3.8 million a day.
A spokesman said: “To future-proof and prepare for expected growth, further tiers will be added to the hub in coming years.
“CNG vehicles will be based at the hub and there will be provision for electric cars. Colossus is strategically located near the motorway, close to several of Hermes’ retail customers’ distribution sites. This means that later cut off times for collections will be provided.”
Further investment across Hermes’ network is also being planned to support growth.
This includes investment at the firm’s Nottingham and EuroCentral depots this year, adding automation and capacity to process an additional 280,000 parcels to the network annually.
Martijn de Lange, CEO at Hermes, said: “The online shopping boom shows no sign of slowing down and we have just experienced our biggest Christmas period to date, handling in excess of 49.1 million parcels during December 2019 alone – significantly up from 39.5 million in December 2018.
Mr de Lange added: “Our continued investment to strengthen our network and infrastructure across the UK is laying the foundations for future growth, creating more employment opportunities and confirming our position as an industry leader.”
Hermes describes itself as “a Yorkshire company born and bred”.
It can trace its history back to 1974 when Grattan Mail Order in Bradford launched its own home delivery operation.
Ashley Walker, Hermes’ director of planning and development, said: “Barnsley is at the centre of gravity for our operations.
“It’s in our heartland of Yorkshire and really near to our customers, really near to our client base and on the motorway network.
He said many people in Barnsley had a background in the logistics sector.
He added: “We had no hesitation in going for this site. We are continuing to invest - this year we have invested in our Nottingham depot and expanding in Bolton. The market is still growing for e-commerce, so we need to be planning ahead."
He added: “It is brilliant that we can invest in our county and provide more jobs for Yorkshire people."
Mr Walker said: “We are creating jobs all over the country and this is a good news story for the local economy.”
Hermes delivers more than 390 million parcels a year.
The new Hermes strapline, The Parcel People, was launched along with the new brand and fleet livery in 2018.
The company has continued to invest significantly in innovation. It recently established a new site in Leeds that houses its innovation, development and IT teams.
A large number of logistic operations have been built in South Yorkshire because of the area’s strong connections to the motorway network.