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Parcel delivery giant Hermes is to develop a 363,000 sq ft automated distribution hub in South Yorkshire.

The company is building a new facility, named Colossus, that will initially process 1.3 million parcels daily; boosting the company’s overall capacity to 3.8 million a day. To future-proof and prepare for expected growth, further tiers will be added to the hub in coming years.

The £60 million facility is thought to be being built on land just off Junction 36 of the M1 motorway adjacent to the roundabout. The plot is thought to be being brought forward by a local development company. At present the scheme is surrounded by non disclose agreements.

In September Hermes completed the construction of a third sortation tier at its fully automated Midlands hub in Rugby.

Due for completion in 2022, the Barnsley facility is set to be the largest of its kind in Europe and will create about 1,300 jobs. Up to 800 people will work on site during shifts.

Martijn de Lange, chief executive 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.”

Hermes has also revealed plans for further investment across network to support growth. This includes investment at the firm’s Nottingham and EuroCentral depots this year, adding automation and capacity to process an additional 280,000 parcels to the network annually.