A JAPANESE company is creating about 200 jobs at a warehouse to be built near the Nissan plant in Sunderland.

Vantec Europe is spending £22.5m on the 40,000sq metre site at Turbine Business Park, in the first development in the country to be built on one of the new enterprise zones.

The firm employs 829 people in the North-East and said it would create an additional 230 jobs by 2015 as part of the biggest cash injection it has made during its 22 years in the region.

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Companies including Darlington engine maker Cummins and Komatsu, in Birtley, make use of the storage and delivery services the firm provides at its warehouse in Cherry Blossom Way, Sunderland.

Vantec’s biggest customer is Nissan and the new facility will handle about six million packages a year containing parts destined for the Sunderland car plant.

Last year, Vantec was pledged £2.7m from the Government’s flagship enterprise fund, which will now be used to support this project.

Moving to land designated as an enterprise zone means Vantec will benefit from business rate relief and enhanced capital allowances, which write off the costs of machinery against companies’ taxable income.

Critics of enterprise zones believe that the sites attract companies that were already planning to invest, and do not stimulate new growth.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “I am delighted Vantec are breaking ground on the North-East enterprise zone, building on the success of Nissan in the area and cementing the export orientated manufacturing base of the region.

“Bringing new jobs and success to all parts of the UK is this Government’s priority, and it is a great boost to Sunderland and the North-East local enterprise partnership to have Vantec on its enterprise zone. I wish the company and everyone involved the very best of success.”

Cities Minister Greg Clark said: “Today’s deal is just the start of inward investment into the zone that will create thousands of jobs, safeguard the future of many others, and make the area one of the best places in Europe for new businesses to grow and prosper.”

Akira Koyama, president of the Vantec Corporation, thanked the Government and Sunderland City Council for their support.

Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council said the decision was a “vote of confidence” in a region that was fast becoming a hotbed for car making.

The move comes after parts suppliers SNOP and the Lear Corporation announced plans to open factories in the North- East on the back of Nissan’s continued expansion.

The Tees Valley enterprise zone opened for business on Sunday and hopes to announce its first occupants in the upcoming weeks.