SSO Logistics has opened a 40,000 sq. ft unit in Widnes after a £200,000 investment, complementing its existing sites in St Helens and Haydock.

It has also committed a further £350,000 on four EFL252 Lithium battery-powered FLTs for its Haydock site, along with two Calder Flexi FLTs for the new Widnes site.

The new warehouse, which has space for 4,000 pallets, will be used for redirecting shipments for several delivery postcodes SSO covers for the Wolverhampton-based Pallet-Track network.

This will save an estimated 32,000 miles annually from UK roads, which equates to cutting just under 24 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Peter Draper, director at SSO Logistics, said:

“With a lot of our work with Pallet-Track, the trunks would come back to Haydock – now they can go direct to Widnes, which is quicker and has far less impact on the environment.

“As a business, we’re growing and planning for the future. I believe many major warehousing projects are going to be shelved due to high interest rates, so we are securing space now and forward planning for our customers.

“With the new vehicles, there is also an environmental and business benefit. The Lithium truck can be charged in 15 minutes compared to an eight-hour full charge for the older lead acid models, which would often run out halfway through a shift.”

At the start of 2023, SSO’s Haydock site was awarded freeport status by the government, meaning it was the city’s first customs site operator – an area within a freeport where certain tax and customs rules are suspended to support and encourage international trading.

SSO, which is British Retail Consortium (BRC) accredited and has several customers in the FMCG sector, is hoping the new Widnes site will also be confirmed as a freeport in January 2024.

“It’s not just about us being a freeport – it’s about us selling to customers so they can be too,” added Peter.

“For example, one of our customers imports from China, so pays no duty on arrival. We manage that on our site, and we release the duty if they sell the product in the UK. There’s a cashflow benefit and a big saving on high-duty goods.”

Lee Chambers, chief commercial officer at Pallet-Track, said:

“SSO’s growth since joining our network has been phenomenal, and this expansion and major investment is further proof of that.

“‘We look forward to another year partnering with SSO and continuing to grow together in 2024.”

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