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DHL Express upsizes Hong Kong air hub

Expanded sort facility increases parcel handling capacity by almost 70%

DHL Express is the only express carrier with a dedicated, purpose-built air express facility at Hong Kong International Airport. (Photo: DHL)

DHL Express announced it has completed the $409 million third-phase expansion of its central Asia hub in Hong Kong, improving parcel connectivity with the rest of the world and intra-Asia trade. 

The new building represents a 50% increase in the hub’s size to 533,000 square feet and increases peak shipment handling capacity by nearly 70%. It is equipped with automated material handling equipment that enables DHL to sort 125,000 pieces per hour. Special X-ray scanners double inspection speed for prohibited or hazardous items. DHL said it expects the annual throughput to exceed 1.1 million tons when operating at full capacity — six times the shipment volume compared to when the terminal first opened in 2004.

Hong Kong is one of three global air hubs in the DHL parcel network, alongside Leipzig, Germany, and Cincinnati. The facility at Hong Kong International Airport handles nearly 20% of DHL Express’ shipment volume and more than 200 dedicated freighter flights per week.

The new building is designed to be carbon neutral, with more than 3,400 solar panels to generate power, battery storage, LED lighting, electric forklifts and a high-efficiency air conditioning system.

“While global trade is normalizing following a pandemic boom, our investments today will improve our global and regional network, putting us in an excellent place when global trade recovers,” said DHL Express CEO John Pearson in a news release Tuesday. DHL Express is part of German logistics giant DHL Group.

Volumes between Asia and other regions in the first three quarters of the year were up 30% versus the same period in 2019, according to the company. 

DHL also has regional air hubs in Shanghai, Singapore and Bangkok.

Air Hong Kong, a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, is one of DHL’s major airlift providers in Asia. It is replacing Airbus A300-600s with larger A330s, as previously reported.

DHL last year opened a regional hub at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.


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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals and a Silver Medal from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government and trade coverage, and news analysis. He was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. In December 2022, he was voted runner up for Air Cargo Journalist by the Seahorse Freight Association. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]