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Leyton food importers start work on new Rainham distribution centre

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:28 07 September 2020

McLaughlin and Harvey team with mayor, councillor John Mylod at Wanis Rainham's groundbreaking. Picture: Wanis Group

McLaughlin and Harvey team with mayor, councillor John Mylod at Wanis Rainham's groundbreaking. Picture: Wanis Group

Wanis Group

An international food importers is expanding to build a new distribution centre in Rainham.

Wanis' Emma Ashton with mayor John Mylod at Wanis Rainham's Groundbreaking. Picture: Wanis GroupWanis' Emma Ashton with mayor John Mylod at Wanis Rainham's Groundbreaking. Picture: Wanis Group

Wanis International Foods celebrated the groundbreaking on Friday, September 4 of its new site to be built from scratch in Ferry Lane.

The company, which has its own cash and carry and own labels as well as supplying supermarkets and independent shops with international foods, says that its expansion has been well under way for a while and is part of a five-year plan.

Since having to relocate when Olympic Village was built, the business has settled in Leyton, with another storage centre in Milton Keynes. Now, the Rainham site, which it plans to have ready for spring 2021, will be mainly a distribution centre.

Initially, the site will create around 30 new jobs, but director of operations Alam Ameer, explained that the Leyton site has 120 employees and that it would be looking to build it up gradually.

The Wanis team at Friday's groundbreaking. Picture: Wanis GroupThe Wanis team at Friday's groundbreaking. Picture: Wanis Group

Like other food suppliers, aside from the site building delay, the company was unaffected – if not positively impacted – by the coronavirus pandemic.

Alam Ameer said that as the pandemic escalated and demand for food suppliers increased because of panic-buying, Wanis kept a steady production line due to the sheer quantities it has in storage.

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He said: “Where other brands were running out of stock, because we are agents and service other brands from products from all over the world and have to do this well in advance, we were able to sustain availability.”

Mr Ameer added that most of the gain from extra sales was quickly reinvested in staff and distribution to cope with the demand.

Community brand ambassador Paul Harrison says the company has also been helping out when councils and foods banks have been in need.

So why Rainham?

“Rainham is really becoming the heart of London,” says Alam. “As people look to move out of London, it’s an up and coming area and has a very important development programme in the making [Beam Park]”.

“As a distribution centre, being well-connected is paramount, and we’re right next to the A13 and the M25.”

Paul added: “We also take community responsibility very seriously, we’re working with Mardyke Community Centre and we’ll be looking at how we can support the community food banks.”

Former mayor councillor, Michael Deon Burton said: “At a time when jobs are being lost in many quarters and the future is so uncertain in others, it is another of Havering’s success stories.

“Because of the commitment made by Wanis to built their new premises in Rainham. With it, new business and the opportunity for new jobs, we go together into a new future.”


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