Expansion secures the future at TNT Express in Thetford

Bosses of TNT Express yesterday said the long-term future of its Thetford depot had been secured following the completion of a �1m investment to expand the facility.

Staff and senior managers celebrated in style as the firm officially opened the new extension to the Howlett Way site on the Fisons Way Industrial Estate. Work began in March and was carried out by Norfolk firm RG Carter.

As part of the project a new mezzanine building has been added while an additional 21 delivery doors have also been created.

Dutch-owned TNT Express is one of the leading business-to- business express delivery companies in the UK and Ireland employing 11,000 staff in both countries and operating more than 3,500 vehicles from more than 70 locations.

The Thetford facility, which employs 160 staff deals with around 5,000 deliveries a day

Alistair Cochrane, TNT Express managing director said the investment was designed make sure that TNT could meet the needs of its customers across the region.

The latest investment comes on top of a �400,000 refurbishment of the companies vehicle maintenance unit.

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'This seriously secures both our future here in Thetford and also that of the employees for many years to come,' Mr Cochrane said. 'From our point of view it has been long overdue. This gives us 21 extra doors and the capacity for growth in the future.

'Thetford is our fifth largest delivery depot across the UK and we have got to the point where need to operate more vehicles and doors. There are 5,000 deliveries a day and this gives us the capacity to expand on this by another 3,000 in the future.'

Workers decided to dress up in dinner dress to mark the occasion while there was a bacon roll for all of the lorry staff who could not make the ceremony.

David Clarke, general manager, said staff had come up with the idea and had voted in a ballot for long-serving loading bay operative John Roberts to cut the ribbon to mark the official opening.

'This group of people is the most enthusiastic I have worked in the 19 years I've been at TNT,' he said. 'What this means for them is a fantastic working environment and great facilities and I think it will then mean they have a spring in their step when they come to work.

Mr Roberts, who turned 64, the day before the opening ceremony, said: 'It's lovely and a nice place to work. I put my name down and was chosen. It's brilliant.'