iPort at Doncaster has become the first strategic rail freight interchange to be given inland customs facility status.
The 800-acre South Yorkshire site can now clear goods heading in both directions through the Channel Tunnel, while also securing HMRC’s Authorised Economic Operator status.
It comes as a further 680,000 sq ft of warehousing is to be developed at the multi-modal location.
Paul Bathgate, business solutions director for IPort Rail, said: “We’ve seen in the past 18 months how important it is to have reliable, efficient supply chains for import and export. Rail freight to/from Doncaster is one way to help minimise disruption and cut carbon emissions at the same time.
“Sea ports are already under pressure, roads are congested and with more Brexit changes ahead businesses need a wider range of options to keep their supply chains moving from port to door.
“Now goods going to or coming from Yorkshire, the North of England and the Midlands can bypass South Coast ports more easily with Channel Tunnel services able to clear customs in South Yorkshire. We can also support businesses on the paperwork and practicalities too.
“Ultimately, this is another way for businesses to fulfil supply chain needs more sustainably and efficiently.”
The new customs capability includes a temporary storage facility creating an approved area where inventory-linked goods under customs control can be held until they are released to free circulation, with duties charged on release. It also has an area for UK Border Force authorities to examine and take account of goods.
Developed by Verdion, it opened nearly three years ago, running daily services to sea ports and moving 500 containers a day.
Working in partnership with Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, the latest speculative development will deliver four huge buildings ranging from 116,000 sq ft to 260,000 sq ft - with completion anticipated by autumn 2022.
The first, a 173,500 sq ft addition, is expected to complete for Christmas.
An earlier speculative phased build completed in March, with the final two units taken by Woodland Group and a luxury homeware retailer.
They joined Amazon, Ceva, Fellowes, Lidl, Maritime Transport and Kingsbury Press alongside the East Coast Main Line and M18, which provides a direct motorway link to the A1, M1 and M62.
John Clements, executive director of Verdion, said: “This is an extraordinary market, with no high-quality new space above 100,000 sq ft currently available in South or West Yorkshire and occupier demand remaining strong.
“This development programme steps up the pace and will deliver a range of new warehousing throughout the park designed to meet requirements across a number of size bands. Although many businesses will be driven by ecommerce sector growth and employment opportunities, we’re also expecting others drawn by the significant power available and opportunity to move into rail freight.
“Speed is going to be important, but these sites are already prepared for development with services installed and materials pre-ordered so we’re in a position to move quickly.”
Gent Visick, Colliers and CBRE are acting as leasing agents for Verdion.
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