JAPANESE company Vantec has opened a huge new warehouse in the North-East – the first project to be completed on one of the government's new enterprise zones.

The warehouse, which measures 500 metres from end to end, dominates Turbine Business Park in Sunderland. About 140 people will work at the site and this number is set to increase steadily over the next five years. 

The new building will complement the firm’s existing 148,000 sq ft warehouse at Cherry Blossom Way in Sunderland.

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Vantec provides warehousing and logistics to Nissan Sunderland, Komatsu UK, Birtley and Cummins Engines, Darlington. Since construction work began on the £22.5m project last May, the Japanese company has won three major logistics contracts. These have created 86 new jobs in the North-East and will add another 98 jobs over the next two years.

Vantec bosses Akira Koyama and Shinya Hannya flew from Japan to celebrate completion of the warehouse, which is the first development to get underway on one of the government's new enterprise zones set up to attract investment and create jobs.

Mr Koyama, the company president, said this morning: “Less than 10 months ago I announced from this spot that Vantec was to begin building its largest-ever overseas project at this site. The transformation in such a short time is remarkable. The new warehouse is already helping Vantec Europe to secure new contracts and expand its workforce by more than 300 jobs in less than a year.

“We are delighted that Vantec continues to receive strong support from Sunderland City Council and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.”