Global freight and logistics company DHL has confirmed its investment to the Airport Authority Hong Kong for the latter’s expansion plan for the Central Asia Hub, the Handy Shipping Guide reports. A plan foreseen to take years to complete, the amount invested is reported to be worth $395 million, bringing its total infrastructural investment to more than $613 million poured so far into the logistics project.
The Central Asia Hub has reported an average 12% year-on-year growth in shipping volume since its founding 10 years ago. The Hub is DHL’s primary freight hub in the Asia Pacific region. With this area handling over 40% of the Asia Pacific-based shipment volumes, DHL has “committed to strengthening our global network and services,” according to DHL Express’ CEO Ken Allen.
Allen attributed this growth to the “rise in international e-commerce and intra-Asian trade,” making the region significant to DHL’s vision of a stronger global network. “Based in a strategically important location to DHL, the expanded Central Asia Hub in Hong Kong will not only bolster our operational capacity in Asia Pacific, but also facilitate the rapidly-growing international trade demands in the region and around the world,” he said.
Most of the investment is expected to expand the hub’s throughput capacity with an enhanced material handling system, increasing to 125,000 pieces per hour. Currently, the hub’s capacity is 75,000 pieces per hour.
An air express cargo facility has been purposefully built right at the Hong Kong International Airport itself, making it ready for the expanded center to “handle six times more in terms of shipment volume than when it was first established in 2004,” according to the same report. With the Central Asia Hub including focal points like Bangkok in Thailand, Shanghai in China and the city-state of Singapore, it will serve as DHL’s proof of dominance in the region when it comes to freight and logistics.
The Central Asia Hub was also described by Allen as the hub that connected “more than 70 DHL Express gateways in the region.” He mentioned the kind of facility upgrades that the hub will soon earn from the investment. “Equipped with fully automated X-ray inspection machines, it will increase the speed of our shipment inspection by three times - enabling us to expedite the processing speed of shipments that come through the Central Asia Hub.”
The planned upgrades are expected to be operational by the first quarter of 2022. The timetable was set with the Pan-Pearl River Delta in mind as most of the shipments causing an increased influx of goods to the hub are traced from the heightened economic activity in this area. Other goods are expected to make their way to the upgraded Central Asia Hub once Hong Kong International Airport’s Three Runway System is completed. By that time, the Hub will have expanded its warehouse space to about 47,000 square meters.
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