Volkswagen is now benefitting from enhanced ro-ro services at the UK port of Sheerness following a 10-year contract signed with Peel Ports that includes a new 32,000-sq.m pre-delivery inspection facility.

PDI services on the newly extended facility, which are now operational, are being handled by vehicle logistics provider GBA Group and will provide inspections for UK vehicle compliance as well as modification services. GBA signed a deal with VW to operate the centre last September.

The investment includes compound developments adjacent to the PDI centre. Peel Ports said that the new facilities will provide VW with enhanced ro-ro services to support extra volumes.

“This facility offers safety checks, storage, office and adequate space for the PDI operation, ensuring vehicles pass the QA checks and are made ready,” said a spokesperson for the ports operator. “Vehicle modifications in line with the customers specifications are completed at the PDI centre, a function that was previously carried out at another site.”

Peel Ports said the multi-million pound investment will increase vehicle imports through Sheerness by 50,000 units annually. The company handled 330,000 at Sheerness last year on an existing 32,000-hectare vehicle import facility.

“The automotive sector in the UK is thriving,” said Hamish Scott, Peel Ports’ strategy director “Manufacturing is expanding rapidly, exports are booming and sale of vehicles made here and overseas are approaching pre-recession levels. That rapid growth and optimism represents a major opportunity for Peel Ports to work with vehicle manufacturers, logistics companies and shipping lines to shorten supply chains, reduce carbon emissions and save money.”

In June this year Peel Ports announced a £10m ($16.7m) investment at the port of Liverpool in the UK to create a dedicated vehicle storage area with a capacity to handle 70,000 vehicles a year.

Last year GBA Group completed work with Associated British Ports, on a £26m terminal at the port of Grimsby in the northeast of the UK. Grimsby delivered its 3 millionth car for VW last year and the carmaker was the first to sign up to the development when it was announced in 2011.