Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is in talks to rent a warehouse at Magna Park in Milton Keynes, about 70 miles from the coast and 50 miles northwest of London, the people said, asking not to be identified because the negotiations are private. Goods from the European Union could pass through customs there after the U.K.’s departure from the bloc.
HMRC is talking to the owner of the property, Gazeley, about the lease, which is yet to be signed, the people said. A spokesman for the European warehouse developer owned by Singapore’s GLP Pte declined to comment, while an HMRC official said inland customs checks are part of its “business-as-usual” activity.
The government’s plans for the Milton Keynes site come as demand for warehouse space booms in Britain, thanks to e-commerce, which now accounts for a fifth of retail spending excluding groceries. Manufacturers including Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc warn they may be forced to hold more stock if Brexit impacts their supply chains, a trend that would stoke demand for warehousing further.
“If Brexit disrupts trade between the U.K. and EU, then supply chains could become less reliable,” said Jon Sleeman, EMEA industrial and logistics director at broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. “Some manufacturers or retailers may decide that they need to hold more inventory in the U.K. to cover for this uncertainty. This could lead to requirements for additional warehouse capacity.”
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