A GIANT freight firm is to give Wigan a much-needed 150-job boost.
Just days after it was revealed that up to 500 posts could be lost from the Wheatlea Asda depot as part of centralisation plans, newcomers Torque today at least helped to soften the blow.
The logistics firm, which took over a large warehouse from ailing JJB Sports at Martland Park earlier this year, has unveiled ambitious expansion plans.
Bosses of the booming firm say they need to grow to cope with a growing list of customers, who need them to be able to use ocean, road and air while exploiting the region’s air and sea ports.
In order to do this, they need a dramatic increase in the size of their workforce.
Paul Boland, head of freight at Torque, says that the vast majority of the jobs created will be based at Wigan, and therefore provide a huge employment boost for the local community.
He said: “This is a major development for Torque, and we are excited about the opportunities and prospects this will provide.
“This significant move will enable Torque to increase its coverage and presence throughout the UK as well as give clients a full end-to-end supply chain solution with local contacts.
“In addition to rolling out our freight operation, we also anticipate utilising Liverpool Port in 2014, which will be ready to receive direct mothership vessels.
“This location will put us in a very strong position to offer a full range of services to potential clients.
“With our increased presence in the North West, we foresee our market share of business growing substantially.”
Mr Boland added that since the move to Wigan, its profile in the North West has improved significantly.
The venture will see them offer their services on a much broader scale, reminiscent of the days the old Wigan Pier was used to export coal via the canal.
Mr Boland added: “People often want to deal with people in the same area.
“We are very well located at the moment near the motorways and for the planned utisation of the port in Liverpool next year.”
As the operation at Martland Mill grows, Torque plans to recruit within the local area, looking to draw on those with significant experience in the freight industry and knowledge of the local North West markets.
Asda last week admitted that it was looking to rationalise its distribution network by creating a huge hub and close current ones. It is a toss-up between Burtonwood, Warrington, which would be within commuting reach of Wigan workers and Walsall in the Midlands which wouldn’t. Overall the number of jobs would actually increase.