DHL Express adjusts Southeast Asia network to meet e-commerce demand

By Damian Brett

DHL Express will offer dedicated freighter flights to Ho Chi Minh and Penang from its Hong Kong hub as it looks to meet growing e-commerce demand.

The express firm said that it will serve Penang five-times-per week from its central Asia Hong Kong hub, while the new flight to Ho Chi Minh will fly six times per week.

Previously the two destinations were served as part of a single loop. DHL said that separating them out will add cargo capacity and shorten transit times to the two cities.

In addition, DHL Express will upgrade the aircraft shuttling between Hanoi and Hong Kong from a Boeing 737-400 to Boeing 737-800, which will offer greater capacity.

DHL Express Asia Pacific chief executive Ken Lee said the company was experiencing a surge in B2C and B2B e-commerce shipments “tech-savvy digital natives begin to make up the bulk of merchants and consumers across the world, and also in Asia”.

“This has driven a shift in expectations about e-commerce – customers want top quality service, speed, reliability, convenience and flexibility,” said Lee.

“By dedicating flights to Ho Chi Minh City and Penang, and upgrading our aircraft for Hanoi, our customers in these markets will continue to enjoy the quality service that they have come to expect from us as we seek to deliver their shipments within a day.”

Sean Wall, executive vice president, network operations and aviation, DHL Express Asia Pacific, added: “We have been paying close attention to shipment volume trends, and constantly identifying gaps to further enhance our transit times. Given that international air capacity still remains limited in Asia Pacific due to shortage of belly space capacity, we have been taking decisive steps to invest in additional flight routes and freighters to help ensure we have sufficient capacity to maintain our service to our customers.”

The Ho Chi Minh service will utilise an A300F with a capacity of 62 tonnes. It is expected to carry shipments such as fashion apparel, garments accessories and materials, and electronics.

On the Penang route, a 50 ton capacity A300F will operate with electronic components and parts making up the bulk of goods flown. 

DHL Express currently has 23 dedicated aircraft in its Asia Pacific fleet, and four regional hubs in Asia Pacific that supports local and regional customers, e-commerce merchants and other businesses to tap into intra-Asia trade growth.

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