Federal Express opened a new facility and expanded delivery service in Northern Ireland, speeding global delivery times to and from the U.K. province by a day.
The Carrickfergus facility and a daily FedEx flight from Belfast to Paris are expected to give Northern Irish businesses greater access to global markets. FedEx will offer a next-business-day service linking Northern Ireland and Europe and the U.S. East Coast, with atwo-day service to Asia and the rest of the U.S.
The Carrickfergus facility will employ 52 people and create opportunities for manufacturers in Northern Ireland to increase exports, said Gerald P. Leary, FedEx Express’s president for Europe, the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa.
Northern Ireland was hit harder by the recession than other parts of the U.K. and is recovering more slowly, and the fiscal crisis in the Republic of Ireland has hurt local cross-border trade, according to a third quarter report from Northern Bank.
Exports have been a source of growth for the local economy, the report said. “The global recovery has helped many NI exporters enjoy a strong revival.” Northern Ireland still has the highest unemployment rate in the U.K., Northern Bank said.
“Northern Ireland’s future economic prosperity hinges on reaching beyond neighboring economies, such as the U.K. and (Republic of) Ireland, towards high-potential emerging and established markets globally,” said Leary.
The province’s legislative assembly is also considering lowing its corporate tax rate to better compete for direct foreign investment with the Republic of Ireland.