A new perishables handling centre is being built at Manchester Airport to capitalise on burgeoning flights from the city.

It is being built by Pangaean, which says it will have an 800 sq m warehouse up and running by February 2007, following a refit of existing buildings.

Managing director John Croft said it would be the best connected of its type outside London. "There is high capacity from North America, the Indian subcontinent and the Far East. There are also an increasing number of flights originating in Southern Africa and South America."

The centre will be capable of handling 18,000 tonnes of freight per year and will reach that capacity by mid-2008. It will have a blast chiller, a fish and seafood section chilled to 1degC. A separate pharmaceuticals area is planned - but Croft sees the future in helping retailers manage their supply chain and offering value-added services, such as packing and labelling.