DHL Creates a Major Worldwide Hub

The new Leipzig/Halle Airport facility completes a global commerce backbone that includes the Wilmington hub in the US and the one in Hong Kong.

Two days before announcing plans for changing its market approach in the US, the international delivery giant opened this € 300 million facility to enhance its global express network. For the company, this hub transfers flights previously going to its Cologne gateway and its previous European air freight hub in Brussels.

Some 60 planes per day arrive at the new hub from 46 destinations across the globe. In addition to freight arriving from the US and Hong Kong, cargo moves between Leipzig/Halle and such points as Sharjah in the UAE, Delhi, Istanbul, Sofia, Warsaw and Ostrava, to name a few. These sites are mentioned here to provide a sense of why this particular location was chosen by DHL for creation of the new hub.

At the formal opening of the facility, Frank Appel, Chairman of the Managing Board of Deutsche Post World Net, spoke of a shift in global commerce increasingly toward the east, not only with freight moving from China and India, but with emerging markets that include the Mideast, the Baltic States and Russia. Appel explained that this location in Germany is central to DHL’s continuing business with western destinations as well as to serving markets to its north and south and the growing markets to the east.

John Mullen, CEO of DHL Express, observed that, “Demand for Express services is growing worldwide and we took the decision to invest in our international network in order to meet this need. The state-of-the-art new hub will enable us to continue to offer the best possible service, quality and reach for our customers. It is not only one of the industry’s most technically advanced hubs, with some of the world’s most sophisticated sorting equipment, but it will also protect and strengthen our leading position in the European, and indeed global express market.”

The hub’s sorting line is fully automatic and has been designed to minimize sound levels as it operates. Its main sorter is 6,500 meters long. There is a 900 meter document sorter and 260 loading and unloading slots for air containers. At present it is capable of handling 1,500 tons per day, anticipated to grow to 2,000 tons per day by 2012. The line can handle 60,000 parcels and 36,000 documents per hour.

The facility is environmentally sensitive with, for example, the use of natural gas powered cogeneration technology for electricity, heating and cooling. The hub has 1,000 square meters of solar cells on the roof of its workshop used for generating electricity. The hub catches and stores rainwater that it then uses for drinking water and cleaning aircraft.

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