US express delivery giant FedEx sets up Ulster hub
The business behind one of America's most iconic brands has opened a new premises in Northern Ireland with the creation of around 30 jobs.
Express delivery giant FedEx will use its new site in Carrickfergus as a depot for international deliveries and said its presence would help boost export opportunities for firms here.
While FedEx has operated in Northern Ireland through an intermediary, the warehouse in an industrial estate in the town is its first 'hub' in the province.
A spokeswoman for the company said: "FedEx Express confirms the opening of a customised warehouse facility, with adjoining new offices, based in Carrickfergus at Kilroot Business Park.
"The services available from this new facility will assist local firms in accessing international markets as well as provide local employment opportunities.
"The new service is expected to improve the competitiveness of local exporting companies, by reducing delivery times and offering a next day timed delivery to east coast US cities."
Their deal with the park's landlord, property fund manager Highcross, is for an existing 20,000 sq ft warehouse. A new 2,500 sq ft office building has been built for the company, which has a 10-year lease on the two premises.
Commercial property agents CBRE negotiated the lease. Its agent Lisa Morgan said: "There was quality product for FedEx and the landlord could deliver within the timescale required. It was also a unit that was superior to the competition, with competitive, flexible lease terms."
Alliance Party East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson welcomed the arrival of FedEx in his constituency.
He said: "The new manager, his two team leaders and the agents will enhance the FedEx service and provide much needed income for families in East Antrim."
The FedEx spokeswoman said more details would be announced at an official launch in Belfast International Airport next month.
FedEx is a brand inextricably linked with American popular culture. Tom Hank's character in the 2000 film Castaway is a FedEx employee shipwrecked on an island after his company plane crashes. After years of isolation with only a volleyball named Wilson for company, he sets out to return an unopened FedEx package to its sender.