The Deutsche Post logistics arm and Munich Airport held a groundbreaking ceremony last Wednesday (27JUL22), and kicked off the construction of a new sorting and distribution facility for DHL Express. The building, which has a total floor area of 11,000 m², including 9,000 m² of production space, offers customers access from both the land and air sides. Its inauguration is scheduled for the end of 2024. According to DHL, the total cost is EUR 104 million.
The new facility catapults Munich, in DHL's internal ranking, from the status of a station to a gateway for express freight. The next step up would be a hub function, comparable to big players such as Leipzig, Shanghai, or Cincinnati. However, despite the strong and ongoing growth of special cargo in Munich, this is unlikely to happen because of the existing night flight restrictions: a fact that Airport Chief, Jost Lammers, is fully aware of. The executive is nevertheless very proud of the investment, which strengthens MUC’s role as an important location for the throughput of express freight.
Sign of confidence in MUC
In his speech, Jost Lammers emphasized that the groundbreaking ceremony sends an extremely strong signal to the market regarding the future development of Munich Airport. Turning to the DHL delegation, he said: “The strong commitment that DHL Express is making represents a sure sign of its confidence in the location. Bavarian businesses will benefit greatly from the gateway, with its highly efficient logistics offerings and wide range of air freight destinations.” This not only benefits the local and regional economy, including industrial hotspots such as Nuremberg, but also companies in Austria, close to the German border, for which Munich is geographically nearer than Vienna.
DHL guarantees highest security standards
In a release, DHL emphasizes that the new gateway, once completed, will meet all the security standards set by the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA). It will also receive TAPA Class A certification, which is globally recognized as the highest security standard in air freight.
In his speech, on the occasion of the groundbreaking ceremony, Markus Reckling, Managing Director of DHL Express Germany, explained the urgency of the investment: “Our existing processing area [at MUC] can’t keep pace with the growth in import and export volumes given current digitalization and globalization trends. The new gateway facility at Munich Airport not only represents the next important step in our infrastructure plan but also enables us to prioritize our customers by offering them improved services.” The sorting and distribution center will be equipped with two so-called PUD fingers (pick-up and delivery), at which up to 65 vehicles can be handled simultaneously, thus resulting in a faster flow of goods.
Climate protection plays a key role
Speaking to CargoForwarder Global, Manager Rechling particularly emphasized the issue of sustainability in connection with the new gateway facility. This spans from energy saving materials and LED lighting technology, to photovoltaic systems and heat pumps, supplemented by the airport’s district heating system to ensure a pleasant working temperature within the building. Further plans include the installation of 32 electric charging stations to power DHL’s local fleet of e-vehicles, with some of them also for employees’ use. Their numbers will be doubled from 72 to approximately 140, once the building is operational.
Currently, DHL Express operates up to two daily flights between Munich and Leipzig, a daily service to East Midlands, and connects the Bavarian capital with Milan Malpensa every Friday. Given the expected increase in volume, further cargo flights are likely, but DHL has not yet provided details, including regarding the expected volume of shipments. “We can't give specific volume figures. But thanks to the new building, even high growth rates can be handled, so we don't expect any capacity problems for years to come,” DHL Express spokeswoman, Sabine Hartmann responded to CFG.
Next investment in Saudi Arabia?
In other news, Saudi Arabia is planning to host a number of roadshows in the next 12 to 18 months, in a bid to lure the likes of Amazon and DHL to boost its logistics capacity in the Kingdom. Riyadh intends to invite international companies for potential partnerships – including possibly setting up local freight-forwarding and warehousing activities – as part of its $100-billion plan to expand its aviation industry. Within its Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia wants to raise the amount of freight handled to 4.5 million tons annually. The national agenda is primarily aimed at transforming the Arabian state’s economy, and ultimately reducing its reliance on oil.
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