Work for the expansion of DHL Express’s new Benelux hub at Brus-sels Airport hub is well on its way, says Roy Hughes, Executive Vice President, Network Operations & Aviation, DHL Express Europe.
“The building is there,” says Roy. “We are now installing the mechanical handling and we are expecting the opening in May or June 2017.”
This mechanical system will not be the same one that has been installed in Leipzig, Roy concedes. “This a pioneering piece of equipment. We are preparing Brussels in such a ways that the same technology can be put in it eventually.”
The new Brussels hub will be as large as the original Leipzig hub, i.e. 35,000 m². Roy also wants to point out that about 60% of the volume handled is by road. After the initial ‘demotion’ due to the move of the international hub function to Leipzig, the Benelux has been gaining importance over the last few years and will continue to do so, says Mr Hughes. Direct intercontinental flights connect Brussels to Cincinnati, New York - JFK, Lagos and Asia-Pacific. The motive for DHL Express to introduce these direct flights by-passing Leipzig is simple, according to Roy Hughes: “Critical mass!”
Not part of pharma program
Even though at the inauguration ceremony of the Leipzig expansion DHL Express put up an impressive display of pharmaceuticals and healthcare devices, this is not part of the pharma concept of Brussels Airport. Roy: “That is for the colleagues of DHL Global Forwarding.”
It is in Brussels where DHL Express has its global control centre of the belly capacity it uses with passenger airlines.
In contrast, the entire freighter capacity, both of owned and leased aircraft is controlled in Leipzig.
At the Leipzig press conference, DP-DHL CEO Frank Appel confirmed the on-going importance of the integrator’s Brussels hub within the network. To the question of the terrorist attack on Brussels Airport had prompted DP-DHL to review its security policy in Brussels or Leipzig, he answered that this is a matter constantly discussed and monitored with the authorities.
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels