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Hermes is set to build a £60m automated parcel distribution centre in Barnsley as its parcel volumes continue to rise.

The move comes as the delivery specialist reported a 25% rise in the number of parcels it handled in December last year, compared to the same period in 2018.

Due for completion in 2022 the centre, which will be the largest in Europe, will create around 1,300 new jobs in the area, with up to 800 people working on site during shifts.

The 363,000sq ft facility, named Colossus, will initially process 1.3 million parcels daily, boosting the company’s overall capacity to 3.8 million a day. There are also plans to add further tiers in the future.

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Colossus’ location near to the M1 and to several retail customers’ distribution centres will also allow Hermes to offer later collection times.

The company is planning further investment in its Nottingham and EuroCentral depots this year to boost automation and capacity as it prepares to process an additional 280,000 parcels annually.

Martijn de Lange (pictured), CEO at Hermes, said: “The online shopping boom shows no sign of slowing down and we have just experienced our biggest Christmas period to date, handling in excess of 49.1 million parcels during December 2019 alone – significantly up from 39.5 million in December 2018.

“Our continued investment to strengthen our network and infrastructure across the UK is laying the foundations for future growth, creating more employment opportunities and confirming our position as an industry leader.”