DHL invests $22.5m on US hub upgrade

DHL will invest more than $22.5m to expand its facility at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport in the US. The move will allow the express giant to meet the growing demands of international shipping customers.

DHL will build on 19 acres of land leased from the CVG Airport authority to expand its existing aircraft parking apron and construct nine new aircraft gates.

As a result of the work, DHL will have room to park a further nine wide-bodied aircraft.

The additional aircraft will be used to enhance the company’s connection from the US to Asia, Europe and the rest of the Americas region.

Work is due to start next month, with a completion date set for September.

Ian Clough, CEO for DHL Express US, said: “As businesses increasingly go global to capitalise on emerging trends in international trade, the expansion at our CVG hub will position DHL to accommodate the growing needs of our importing and exporting customers.”

DHL said that all new aircraft gates will include a hydrant jet refueling system for a more efficient refueling operation as well as the capability to de-ice aircraft directly at the gate.

This is the second phase of a two year, $40m investment to enhance DHL operations at the Cincinnati hub which includes equipment upgrades and various facility improvements.

In October 2010, DHL announced a $12.5m project to upgrade existing hardware and software applications running its auto sort system, improving the speed and reliability of shipment scanning and sorting as volumes grow at the Cincinnati hub. The CVG hub handles about 90% of the DHL volume that enters the US.

During the same month, the company launched a new range of premium express international delivery services into and out of the US.

The new “Time Definitive” express (TDX) delivery services included options to deliver items by 9am or by noon to Europe, the Americas, and parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and by 10.30am and noon in Mexico and for items delivered to the US, with most items taking 1-2 days.

Speaking to Post&Parcel at the time of the launch, DHL Express USA chief executive Ian Clough said his firm’s links to cities in Europe and Latin America would be the key to competing with its rivals.

“What we are doing is leveraging our extensive international network. With some locations we will be on parity with FedEx and UPS, but in many areas we will be able to provide an improved service,” he said.

Clough highlighted the importance of the US market to DHL during an exclusive interview with Post&Parcel’s sister publication, Mail & Express Review, late last year.

“Certainly, the US is a very important part of the overall DHL global network. In fact, 20% of all global express packages are delivered, picked up or billed to the US. 55% of the top global DHL customers have a presence in the US,” Clough said.

In terms of key strategy, he added: “In the last year and a half since we realigned our business to focus 100% on international, we’ve focused on training our people as Certified International Specialists and engaging all employees so they understand their role in light of our core value proposition for overall success of the business and our customers.

“We’re now in growth mode as a business, getting a clear message out to the marketplace to help the businesses that ship internationally understand who we are and why we are unique.”

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