Gillingham’s state-of-the-art distribution centre for global science and technology company Merck was on show today when the Member of Parliament for North Dorset, Simon Hoare, experienced the site in action.


The centre, which has been in operation since 1974 and employs 170 local staff, ships out more than 1.9 million units of products each year to support the life sciences industry across the UK and Ireland as part of Merck’s global supply chain.


Merck provides more than 300,000 different products to the life sciences sector, including biochemical and chemical reagents and laboratory supplies for research such as new drug discovery, gene editing, products to assist with biotech production, and products that help ensure our environment, medicines, food and beverages are safe.


Simon Hoare MP said: “It was fantastic to see this distribution centre in full flow, and to learn more about the vital role it plays in supporting Gillingham’s local economy and our ever-growing life sciences industry. We should be proud that we have a strong local employer that’s part of a sophisticated global operation, bringing world-leading expertise into our community.”


Mark Jackson, Gillingham’s site director, added: “We supply the pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology companies, research institutes and academic centres with innovative devices, biochemical and chemical reagents, laboratory supplies and testing services.


“The centre is a hub of activity, receiving nearly half a million orders every year and keeping more than 400,000 units in inventory at any given time. We ship out 97.5 per cent of orders the same day they are received, meaning our systems are highly productive and our staff are global experts at what they do.


“This distribution centre is essential to the UK’s life science sector and we are proud of the part we play in supporting this industry, which is vital to the UK’s economy.”


Merck now has more than 1,400 employees in 15 locations across the UK in their healthcare, life science and performance materials sectors. Merck has a rich in history in innovation across the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, having been founded in 1668 in Germany.