Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Clipper create hundreds of jobs with multi-million pound facility
A MULTI-MILLION pound logistics centre, which will handle the majority of supermarket Asda’s clothing range, has opened in the North-East, creating hundreds of jobs.
Clipper has opened the 342,000sq ft purpose-built facility, which uses state-of-the-art technology, at Wynyard Park, near Billingham, and could eventually employ up to 650 people when used to full capacity.
It is already renting half of the processing plant to Asda on a ten-year lease, to enable the supermarket to prepare clothes from the George range for moving to their three UK distribution centres. The two firms have a long-standing relationship, having worked together since 2006.
Clipper is in talks with a number of other retailers about the rest of the space, but would not be drawn on names.
So far, Clipper has relocated 100 staff from premises at Darlington, and a small number from a Leeds facility to work at the plant, and is expecting to hire another 300 to keep up with the work.
The plant, which is capable of processing 240 lorry loads of clothes every 24 hours, operates round-the-clock on two shifts, only stopping operations on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
It is able to get clothes from Tees Port, near Redcar, to Asda’s main distribution centres at Washington, Wearside, Lymedale, Staffodshire, and Brackmills, Northampton, within 24 hours and can process three million items of clothing every week.
Tony Mannix, managing director of Clipper, said the company had worked with Asda extensively on the project, fitting specialist equipment including 43,000m of running rails for clothes and a steam tunnel to get any creases out of clothes.
“It is fantastic to see the facility open,” he said. “It has been a project we have worked on with Asda for a few years and it is great to see it come to fruition.
“It has been a true partnership between Asda and Clipper.
“We would not have got the project off the ground without an anchor customer,” he said. “We are already in talks with other retailers about the rest of the space. It could be taken by one large customer or a number of smaller customers.
“There will be 400 people working here. When we start to fill the site and grow, it could employ up to 650.”
Ian Stansfield, distribution director for Asda, said: “For us, this represents a big link in our supply chain for George clothing.
“It is flexible and it has the capacity we need for future growth “It is a great location for us as we import most of our product through Tees Port, with PD Ports. It is at the heart of our distribution network and has good rail and road links.”