DHL Reinforces Brussels

The integrator gets back to its former strength at the Belgian capital after having transferred most of its BRU flights to Leipzig ten years ago. To secure future growth DHL is investing heavily into a new sorting facility that will triple the throughput of shipments. Brussels Airport applauds the announced plans.

Lauds DHL’s investment – BRU’s MD Arnaud Feist  /  pictures: hs
Lauds DHL’s investment – BRU’s MD Arnaud Feist / pictures: hs

´Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport (BRU), is delighted: “We are happy to see a partner like DHL consolidating their presence at our airport for the long-term through the development of new activities. This decision once more confirms the importance of Brussels Airport for the air and road transport in Belgium,” he states.
The ground for the “new activities” Arnaud mentions will be paved by a major investment in the infrastructure totaling 150 million euros, with DHL’s share amounting to 114m euros and the real estate developer financing the difference. Once the sorting center is operating, DHL will triple its capacity from 12,000 to 39,500 shipments per hour as result of the enlargement of the facility and the modernization of the sorting technologies.

Tripling capacity
According to DHL, the total surface area of the planned hub is 36,500 sqm and consists of a new 31,500 sqm sorting center and a modern 5,000 sqm office complex. The company further announces that it will also reduce its environmental footprint through the use of new, more efficient sorting technologies, better insulation, a new vehicle fleet that runs on natural gas, a solar park, environmentally friendly lighting and other measures.

Creating additional jobs
Due to the enlarged hub, the package delivery company expects to reinforce its status as a major player in the Belgian express biz. “By increasing shipment processing capacity and speed, and further improving quality, this investment will also play a crucial role in maintaining and developing Belgian trade connections and export opportunities: Belgian companies will be able to increase their export volume and deliver packages abroad even more quickly and reliably,” states the integrator. DL estimates that up to 200 additional jobs will be created up until 2020.
The Deutsche Post logistics pillar sharply reduced its presence at Brussels ten years ago, when moving most of its European and intercontinental flights to Leipzig due to impending night flight restrictions at Brussels Zaventem Airport. Ever since, express volumes have continuously increased at BRU, thus attracting the attention of DHL and other integrators. Consequently, the company once more stepped up its sorting activities and air operation at Zaventem.

Steven Polmans, head of Brussels Airport Cargo
Steven Polmans, head of Brussels Airport Cargo

Double-digit growth
“Their pulling out ten years ago really hit us hard, but the newly announced enlargement of their warehouse is a clear indication that we can count on DHL for at least the next 15 years as one of our major customers,” states Steven Polmans, BRU’s head of cargo, on the integrators Zaventen expansion.  He goes on to say that within the last 5 years DHL’s volume has grown 10-plus percent each year. “Since they not only carry express shipments but ordinary cargo products as well they contribute to the growth of air freight at Brussels Airport,” emphasizes Steven. 
A major role within this ‘Brussels return project’ was also the availability of a skilled workforce in the country’s metropolitan area, enabling reliable workflows. Koen Gouweloose, Managing Director at DHL Aviation NV comments: “The new hub will guarantee an even quicker and higher quality service. It will connect Belgian and other EU companies with 18 intra-European destinations and a number of important intercontinental destinations such as the U.S., China and Africa. In addition, DHL provides 64 road connections from Brussels directly to major business destinations in Europe.”
Currently, DHL freighter flights average 100-plus per week to and from BRU, including shuttle services between Brussels and the integrator’s main European gateway Leipzig/Halle Airport.

Heiner Siegmund

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