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  15th September 2008 - STAR MARITIME

Facility to boost DHL’s ops in Asia-Pacific

DHL, the world’s leading express and logistics company, expects to handle 40 million shipments this year via the newly completed expansion of its first large-scale automated express hub in Asia-Pacific.

With a total investment of US$210mil, the facility will significantly boost DHL’s operational capability in Asia.

Located at the Hong Kong International Airport, DHL Central Asia Hub (CAH) has doubled in size to 35,000 sq m - about the size of 120 tennis courts.

With the expansion, the facility has a throughput of 75,000 pieces per hour (pph) of flyers and conveyable shipments, an increase of 114% compared with the 35,000 pph throughput capacity before the expansion.

With the automation, the throughput cycle time has been further reduced to seven minutes from 12 minutes.

DHL Express Asia Pacific chief executive officer Dan McHugh said Asia-Pacific continued to be the key growth driver in the first half of the year.

“The expansion of the CAH is a testament to the continued growth of intra-Asia trade and the Asia-Europe trade lane. “Currently, over 60% of express cargo processed by the CAH is intra-Asia Pacific shipments, a figure we expect to continue to grow alongside rising intra-regional trade,” he said in a statement.

Originally slated for completion in 2013, the expansion of the CAH is well ahead of schedule and underscores the growth and potential DHL sees in the region.

Hong Kong secretary for transport and housing Eva Cheng said to support further development of the express cargo industry and the aviation sector, the government was dedicated to improve Hong Kong airport’s links to nearby markets.

“On the airport itself, we have plans to increase the runway capacity gradually, reaching 58 movements per hour next year and 68 movements per hour by 2015.

“This is, of course, not the end game. The runway capacity could be substantially increased to over 100 movements per hour with the addition of a third runway,” she said.

With over 40% market share and US$2.2bil invested in the region, CAH is the backbone for DHL to further enhance its service and to extend its market-leading position in Asia Pacific.

DHL Express Greater China area president Jerry Hsu said CAH was strategically located within a four-hour flight radius to major cities in Asia Pacific and complemented by a well-established Asia Air Network that was served by more than 20 aircraft and over 500 commercial daily flights.

“The expansion of the CAH brings with it heightened speed, efficiency, accuracy and significantly bolsters DHL’s operational capacity in Asia Pacific,” he said.

The increased throughput of the automated CAH is supported by advanced autosort system that can handle 35,000 conveyable shipments and 40,000 flyers per hour.

Key automated features of the facility include a bank of singulators that arrange parcels into a single queue, six-sided camera scanners that scan all sides of conveyable shipments, and a shoe sorter matrix that directs the shipments to the relevant chutes according to their destination be it Beijing, Singapore, Osaka, Nagoya, Shanghai, Seoul, Bangkok, Delhi and so forth.

CAH also now has the ability to sort down to the individual postal codes of the DHL service centres in destination countries.

This eliminates the need for the flyers to be re-sorted at the destination gateways. For example, in Singapore, this has translated into a 30-minute head start for DHL couriers, ensuring an even higher degree of service excellence.

The expansion of CAH is also boosted by the state-of-the-art security system with almost 200 CCTV cameras, X-ray equipment and an access control system.

“Speed, accuracy and reliability are the cornerstones of the express industry. The CAH coupled with a robust air network is a core pillar of our highly efficient operational backbone in Asia Pacific,” said McHugh.

“But we invest to stay ahead of the curve. With CAH fully operational, we look forward to taking our network capability up another notch when our North Asia Hub (NAH) at Pudong International Airport, Shanghai is complete in 2010.” NAH in Pudong will complement the CAH in Hong Kong and deliver further operational efficiencies by leveraging on its geographical proximity for shipments destined for the region.

The automated facility will have the capacity to sort conveyable shipments to a peak of up to 20,000 parcels and 20,000 documents per hour.

The establishment of the NAH will result in transit time improvements across North Asia and, in particular, benefit customers located in the Yangtze River Delta.

Hsu said currently, almost 50% of the shipments through the CAH were destined for China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

“With the expected long-term projections in volume growth, a dedicated NAH will further enhance operational efficiencies and enable DHL to keep pace with growth,” she said.


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