DHL Express opens emissions-free hub to support e-commerce growth

By Rachelle Harry

Yesterday (November 19) DHL launched its Strategy 2025, an initiative that focuses on the company’s digitalization and sustainability efforts to drive and support the e-commerce market. As part of the Strategy, DHL Express hosted the official opening of its new, emissions-free logistics centre at Cologne-Bonn Airport.

The new hub, which cost €123 m and took two years to build, covers an area of 15,000 sq m and features state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly technologies that enable it to operate without producing emissions.

An ice tank energy-storage solution – which has a diameter of 18.5 m, and uses 1.3 m litres of frozen water and 18 km of piping and  – keeps the temperature inside the building cool during the summer. A heat pump uses the energy released, when the ice in the melts back to water, to keep the building warm during the winter. The hub is also powered by rooftop solar panels.

With an automatic handling system that can sort up to 20,000 packages per hour, more than 2.5m of cargo-transporting conveyer belts and an x-ray scanner that produces 3D images (for security purposes and to calculate which lifts should be used for certain cargo), the logistics centre is well-equipped to deal with the booming e-commerce market.

John Pearson, chief executive, DHL Express, commented: “The main goal here is to increase our transport and delivery capacity for time-sensitive shipments to meet the ever-growing customer demand in the area of e-commerce. At the same time, we’re continuously improving on process efficiency.”

Travis Cobb, executive vice president of global network operations, DHL Express, added: “Next year we will deploy another six brand-new planes from our Boeing order.

“By modernizing our air fleet, we can increase the number of our intercontinental connections and do this with reduced carbon emissions and less fuel consumption.”

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