DHL Express expanding HKIA hub

Growing regional e-commerce trade has prompted DHL Express to expand its central-Asia hub (CAH) in partnership with Airport Authority Hong Kong.

Costing about HK$2.9 billion (US$371.4 million), the expansion takes DHL’s commitment for the hub to about $4.5 billion.

Recording an average 12 per cent year-on-year growth in its shipping volume in the past decade, CAH is one of three global hubs for DHL. With its expansion, it will handle more than 40 per cent of DHL’s Asia Pacific shipments.

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DHL Express CEO Ken Allen says the hub is based in a location that is strategically important for the company as the region’s international trade demands continue rapid growth.

As part of the expansion, CAH will be equipped with an enhanced material-handling system that will improve productivity and increase throughput from 75,000 shipment items an hour to 125,000 items. The annual throughput of the expanded hub is expected to rise by 50 per cent to 1.06 million tonnes.

As a dedicated air express cargo unit at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), the expanded CAH can handle six times more in terms of shipment volume than when it was established in 2004.

Three times faster

“Connecting with more than 70 DHL Express gateways in the region, the hub plays a significant role in strengthening our network in Asia Pacific, including Bangkok, Shanghai and Singapore,” says DHL Express Asia Pacific CEO Ken Lee.

“The expansion will also help us capitalise on the growth in intra-Asian trade that currently contributes more than 40 per cent of our revenue in Asia Pacific. Equipped with fully automated X-ray inspection machines, the expansion will make our shipment inspection three times faster.”

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“The strong growth of cross-boundary e-commerce has generated new opportunities for the air-cargo industry,” says Airport Authority Hong Kong CEO Fred Lam. “We have taken an array of measures to further strengthen our role as an international and regional aviation hub, which include reserving land on both the airside and landside to support the growth in transshipment, cross-boundary e-commerce and the high value-added air-cargo business.”

The CAH extension is expected to start work in early 2022, in time to capture demand in the Pan-Pearl River Delta region and completion of the airport’s three-runway system in 2024. The expansion will increase the CAH warehouse space by about 50 per cent to 47,000sqm.

Its security system will have 520 CCTV cameras and an advanced access-control system, and a quality-control centre will monitor flight uplift/landing times and reporting any irregularities so DHL can notify customers of flight delays or cancellations.

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