Multi-million pound centres for the internet shopping boom
- Credit: Archant
More massive warehouse are on the way for Ipswich to serve onlne shoppers with imported goods arriving through the Port of Felixstowe.
The warehouses reflect the huge increase in internet shopping as people switch from spending in the high street to shopping on the phones.
In the Ipswich area there are many millions of pounds of new investment in the supply and delivery of goods of all types, with vast quantities imported from China, and with bigger and bigger containers ships arriving at Felixstowe.
In and around Ipswich containers are "un-stuffed" in fulfilment centres - giant warehouses where goods are made ready for sale and for despatch to buyers, without a bricks and mortar shop every being involved.
Commercial agent Chris Moody of Savills is at the forefront of this growth in logistics space.
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At Great Blakenham, phases of 1 and 2 of the Port One business centre, bringing around 800,000 sq ft of logistics space, represents a £120m local investment.
"Town centre shopping is dying," Mr Moody said, "And online shopping is rapidly increasing."
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The largest existing warehouse and new builds, to the west of the Orwell Bridge, are being snapped up by international trading companies.
"Ipswich's popularity as a new 'go to' location for distribution and fulfilment is continuing to grow. Companies in the logistics sector see goods arriving through the port of Felixstowe being stored in Ipswich, representing a short primary leg, before being distributed across the UK both effectively and competitively. It is a very exciting time for the warehouse market, with a number of new high bay facilities being constructed along the A14 corridor."
At Great Blakenham, just off the A14 junction, he has pre-let a 144,000 sq ft unit which will be purpose-built for the FDS Corporation, a Chinese firm specialising in online retail.
It already has 50,000 sq ft of warehousing in use at Ransomes Europark, Ipswich.
FDS General Manager Sheng Li said: "We are really pleased to be taking up this opportunity. The past three years has shown us how well our Suffolk location works for us and our growth has given us the confidence to look at a new facility."
This £20m new fulfilment unit is being built by developers Curzon De Vere for the clients and is a state-of-the-art warehouse, 17 metres high, where goods will be stored on pallets and on racking nine levels high.
Building work is about to start on site.
In these centres computer controlled stock is available for selection for overnight orders and despatched for next day delivery.
Monumart in Europa Way, Ipswich is a very successful trading centre, with 100,000 sq ft of space having grown from a number of smaller sites.
Logistics firms are growing rapidly in Suffolk.
At Great Blakenham local road transport and warehouse family firm The Magnus Group has taken the former Canute warehouse, doubling its warehouse space to 200,000 sq ft there.
Managing director Oliver Magnus said: "We are looking to grow the company and we needed more space.
"There is a lot of business around and we hope it is the right decision."
In Nacton Road, Ipswich the former Alstons furniture factory, with 124,000 sq ft of space, has been let to GMA Warehousing and Transport which is already active in the town.
The company will have around 325,000 sq ft of space in Ipswich following the deal, added Mr Moody.
It imports everything from consumer goods and books to timber and metal products.
A spokesman said: "GMA have sought additional space to keep pace with current growth. We have seen some strong demand in the last 12 months and we want to be able to continue offering our clients the service they are used to. We are also looking at various avenues to expand our offering to our customers and this warehouse gives us the ability to do that."