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New DHL Express hub at Paris airport cuts delivery times

Bigger facility, faster processing help express carrier zip e-commerce shipments to customers

DHL has moved into a much larger sort center near Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. (Photo: DHL)

DHL Express has opened an expanded international parcel hub at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport to support cross-border trade as e-commerce shipments continue to proliferate. The $200 million facility (170 million euros) is 10 times larger than the previous site, the express delivery company said Tuesday.

The facility is DHL Express’ largest investment in Europe in recent years and the biggest ever in France, where DHL has also invested $94.2 million in warehouse and delivery infrastructure over the past six years.

The 345,000-square-foot hub has a high-speed sorting system that can process 38,000 parcels and letters per hour, 15 times more than the previous location. It will enable customers in the Paris region to get pickups and deliveries one hour faster.

The new sort center, which will employ 720 people and run 24/7, is designed to handle parcel growth over the next 10 years, with room for additional expansion as needed. 

Parcel volume in France from online retail orders enabled DHL Express France to grow its volume by about 8% in 2020, and the company said activity is even more intense this year as B2B customers are more active with the COVID pandemic under better control.

Charles de Gaulle airport is now DHL’s fourth-largest hub in Europe in terms of size and parcel processing volume, after Leipzig, Germany; East Midlands, U.K.; and Brussels. DHL has 23 hubs worldwide, 12 of which are in Europe.

“The hub is a nerve center for our network in France, but also in Europe. This new location comes at the right time, as e-commerce is booming,” Philippe Prétat, CEO DHL Express France, said in a statement. “The trend was already under way, but has accelerated with the Covid-19 pandemic and looks set to continue. We are here to support this unprecedented growth.”

Construction of the Paris facility was completed in 20 months, in line with Deutsche Post DHL’s zero-emission target for 2050. Energy-saving features including LED lighting with motion detectors, a sort system with high-efficiency motors, and energy-efficient air conditioning.

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 from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. 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]