VAST warehouse_Wincanton

Wincanton has gone live with its Virtual Access to Storage and Transport (VAST) service, a new initiative that sees the 3PL playing matchmaker for customers looking for warehouse space.

Wincanton said the platform matches buyers with sellers, allowing companies seeking storage to find it quickly and landlords to advertise underutilised space and generate an income.

VAST currently has 30 million sq ft of warehouse space – with the number of pallet spaces standing at more than 200,000 – listed.

The provision is a mix of Wincanton, Wincanton customer and third party-owned space.

Listing on VAST is free and Wincanton charges a transaction fee that covers the cost of running the platform.

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However, the service also offers access to the operator’s 4,000-strong vehicle transport fleet and other 3PL wraparound services such as pick and pack, providing a selling opportunity for Wincanton.

Ian Keilty, MD of Retail and Consumer at the 3PL, told that the service is open to everyone, including other logistics firms.

Keilty added: “This is Wincanton facilitating partnership and collaboration across the industry, acting and thinking like a digital start-up.”

Ultimately, the company wants to build VAST into a “substantial web-based business”, offering space in the UK but also abroad.

“Right now, we are serving the need for space in the UK - probably fuelled by Brexit - but could easily expand across the channel to help our customers on both sides of the border,” said Kielty.

VAST has been born out of W2 Labs programme, an initiative launched by Wincanton in 2017, that is designed to encourage start-ups to pitch ideas to the 3PL with a mind to the best receiving funding for development.