First 4 Logistics has opened a new operational parcel depot in Newhaven in response to significant growth, spurred by a huge surge in online shopping across Brighton and East Sussex since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company, which employs 40 staff, is also looking to recruit an additional three permanent staff and five temporary staff in the coming weeks, in order to meet rising demand.

The new depot provides 17,000sq ft of warehouse space, an increase of 10,000sq ft on its previous site in Newhaven.

The additional space will allow the company to expand its overnight parcel collection and delivery service offerings to local businesses across all BN and TN21 postcodes, enabling local SMEs to service a national customer base.

The increased space will also allow First 4 Logistics to offer storage and fulfilment facilities to support start-up businesses in the local area.

The Newhaven-based firm, which is a member of parcel delivery network APC, has seen 30% growth on deliveries and 100% growth on collections across the region compared to 2019 - which it attributes to being a local firm servicing a thriving SME community.

The logistics firm said its top 10 customers have achieved an average of 100% growth between March to July with the food and drink sector showing the most significant growth locally, as consumers turned to online shopping to source their goods and as SMEs adapted their business models to meet demands.

Chris Aldridge, director of First 4 Logistics, said: “Since the day we launched, the small business scene across Brighton has continued to thrive, with the region proving a top destination for start-up businesses in the UK.

"Now, at a time when SMEs across Brighton are having to adapt their businesses and accelerate their online presence, we remain committed to helping them succeed and expand, offering them the very best local service and tailored delivery solutions."

Jonathan Smith, chief executive of APC Overnight, said:

“Whilst many industries have seen considerable downturns as a result of the pandemic, the logistics industry continues to expand as consumers have found new ways of sourcing products they depend upon.

“The increase in online ordering has meant that businesses have had to rely heavily on carriers to get these items delivered. Supporting our SME customers by recognising their needs and by developing strong working relationships is key, as SMEs are ultimately the backbone of the country’s economy.”

APC members are preparing for what is predicted to be a record-breaking period of online shopping – with APC forecasting year-on-year growth of up to 20%.