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DHL expands global reach with Cincinnati upgrade

It’s no surprise that DHL’s largest U.S. hub is in Cincinnati.

Its central location allows the express carrier to best reach the U.S. East and West coasts from a flight timing perspective.

That explains why two other major express integrators – UPS, which has its U.S. hub in Louisville, only 90 miles down the road, and FedEx, 480 miles away in Memphis – are nearby.

But like its competitors, DHL’s concern is not merely reaching the coasts but the rest of the world – and it is now expanding to meet rising demand.

Since its exit from the US domestic express market in 2009, DHL has set its sights on growing its international service to/from that country, investing US$108 million to upgrade and expand its Americas hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG).

Travis Cobb, DHL’s senior vice-president, network operations, Americas, said part of the investment would be for a new apron to accommodate an additional 18 aircraft, and the remainder would be used for infrastructure, including warehousing and automation.

At present, DHL’s facility has 220 “splits,” in which cargo is separated by destination. With the improvements, 40 more will be added to accommodate international freight.

“This investment is simply because we’ve continued to grow with our existing customers,” Cobb said.

The CVG hub is one of three global DHL hubs – the others being Leipzig, Germany, and Hong Kong. Globally, Cincinnati is second in size and volume only to the Leipzig hub, processing approximately 46 million international shipments annually.

Cobb said serving the U.S. domestic market was a drain on DHL’s resources, so the company focused on the profitable international market.

Today, DHL’s air network connects U.S. cities with the world through the Cincinnati hub.

In addition to destinations in nearby Canada, Mexico and Latin America, Cobb said DHL has daily flights from Cincinnati to the U.K., Belgium, Germany, Bahrain, Japan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, plus service to Australia and Singapore on weekends.

Established in 2009, the CVG hub has had a combined total of $280 million worth of investments by DHL over the last six years.

Staff in the Cincinnati facility has grown from 1,600 in late 2009 to about 2,000 at present.

Cobb said the ramp extension work should be operational by August 2016, with the remainder of the work completed by summer of 2017.

Cincinnati is not DHL’s only focus.

In the past 18 months, the integrator has announced a series of major investments in infrastructure, including $200 million to double the Leipzig hub capacity, $85 million for a new Southeast Asia hub in Singapore, and $177 million to expand its presence in the Middle East and North Africa.

Additionally, DHL is modernizing its fleet with more-efficient freighters with increased capacity.

Last modified on Saturday, 04 July 2015 03:55