Hermes operations director Martijn De Lange explains why the company is backing growth potential in the Northwest, particularly after the Budget.

This week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, delivered his final Budget ahead of the upcoming general election. The economy will be a key battleground for the various parties who are jostling for seats in Westminster from May. As a result, media from all four corners of the UK will spend the next few weeks analysing the various economic policies and the effect they would have on different regions.

As a company that has invested significantly in the Northwest over the last year, Hermes was delighted to welcome the ITV Granada team to its flagship Warrington hub on Wednesday to discuss the economy in the region. ITV was keen to learn why we chose to invest in the Northwest and I was pleased to be able to provide an insight to the programme’s viewers. In case you live outside the area I thought I’d take this opportunity to share that information with you too.

Investment in the Northwest

It has been almost one year since we officially opened our fully automated hub at the Omega Park in Warrington, which was the result of a £14m investment – the single largest investment in Hermes’ history. Due to the rapid expansion of the business it was identified that a new fully functioning site would be required to help meet growing capacity.

After a consultation period and a review of all the options available, Omega Park in Warrington was chosen because of its excellent transportation links. In addition, a number of our leading clients are based in the Northwest and we also have more than 600 myHermes ParcelShops in the surrounding areas. Meanwhile, Hermes is a company with strong ties to the North of England, with our head office based in Yorkshire.

With the opening of the Warrington hub, Hermes has also been able to boost the local economy by becoming a major employer in the region. We have more than 500 people working at the Warrington hub, as well as another 300 based at our depots in the surrounding areas. In addition, Hermes has more than 1,500 self-employed couriers operating across the Northwest, and will be looking to recruit more couriers later in the year to cope with increased volumes.

Contributing to success

With the continued growth of ecommerce, the supply chain industry remains under constant pressure each year to maximise capacity. Thanks to our efficient Warrington operation, Hermes enjoyed a very successful peak period, processing 24.4 million parcels in total, which represented a year-on-year rise of 15% and surpassed the average industry growth (11.6%). Moving forward, as volumes continue to grow at a rapid pace, so will the investment in Warrington!

Currently, the site accommodates a purpose-built state-of-the-art automated scanner with a capacity to process 550,000 parcels a day. However, plans are in place for a further £10m investment this year to build a second tier within the hub, allowing us to process up to a million parcels a day on that site alone.

The continued development in Warrington puts Hermes in a healthy position to secure the opportunities presented by the online shopping revolution and cement its place as the market leader. As we have seen over the past few years, the Northwest is clearly a hotbed for new business investment, and the Hermes team is delighted to be a part of that.

  • Martijn De Lange is operations director at Hermes