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DHL Express Opens First Drive-Up Service Point Store, Grows Air Fleet

DHL Express is expanding its capabilities on the ground and in the air.

On the ground, DHL Express has expanded its vast network of U.S. retail locations by opening a drive-up, mobile popup store in Woodbridge, Va. Located in the Potomac Mills shopping center, the 2,200-cubic-foot mobile DHL Service Point unit becomes the first of its kind, providing a drive-up window for a safe, easy-to-use shipping option for customers.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an unprecedented increase in international shipping in the area, and we continue to explore ways to adapt and offer an even safer shipping experience for our customers,” Chet Paul, senior vice president (SVP) of commercial for DHL Express U.S., said. “With the addition of this unique model in Woodbridge, customers will now be able to complete all transactions without having to leave their car. The DHL Service Point is part of our overall retail strategy to be closer and more accessible to consumers.”

The new unit is the second location in the greater Washington, D.C., area. In July 2019, DHL Express says it experienced an influx of traffic when it opened the first-of-its-kind mobile popup store in Silver Spring, Md.

The Woodbridge Service Point is the first drive-up popup store within the DHL Express U.S. network. Customers may access the unit either through the drive-up window or in the store. An efficient point-of-sale system is capable of processing shipments to U.S destinations, as well as any of the 220 countries and territories DHL serves. Supplies such as bubble wrap, packing tape and DHL-branded boxes are available at the mobile unit.

In response to social-distancing concerns, this DHL Service Point also offers convenient safety features such as the Call Ahead service, with labels and packaging ready when the customer arrives to reduce wait time, and an easy-access service window.

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To create this mobile DHL Service Point location, DHL worked in collaboration with Flexetail, a designer and builder of mobile shops that offers brands an affordable opportunity to test products, explore new markets and launch new lines. In addition to these new company-owned stores, more than 3,500 independently owned DHL Service Point Partner stores continue to play a critical role in the company’s retail strategy within the U.S. market. All locations provide DHL Express international express shipping services, global knowledge and expert advice to help businesses reach the international marketplace.

DHL Express has expanded its vast network of U.S. retail locations by opening a drive-up, mobile pop-up store in Woodbridge, Va.
DHL Express and SmartLynx Malta signed an agreement for the introduction of two newly converted Airbus A321-200 freighters. Courtesy

In the air, DHL Express and SmartLynx Malta signed an agreement for the introduction of two newly converted Airbus A321-200 freighters joining DHL’s European air fleet. The new technically advanced narrow-body fleet type is adding capacity to meet the increasing demand for express cargo transportation worldwide while improving DHL’s unit CO2 emissions by introducing the most fuel efficient narrow-body aircraft in its class.

SmartLynx is a family member of Avia Solutions Group, a large aerospace business group for Central and Eastern Europe with extensive experience operating the A321 family of aircraft. The agreement sets a new hallmark as SmartLynx’s Malta subsidiary enters into the freighter market.

“We at DHL pride ourselves as the global industry pioneer when it comes to introducing new generation conversion freighter types to the market,” Geoff Kehr, SVP for global air fleet management at DHL Express, said. “Continually modernizing our fleet with the most efficient and reliable cargo aircraft produced is vital to our success.”

Increasing demand for e-commerce shipments and protective and medical goods require additional air cargo capacity, the companies noted. The fuel-efficient Airbus A321-200 achieves superior unit reductions in CO2 emissions compared to similar class freighter models. By investing in these aircraft, SmartLynx Malta illustrates its commitment towards embracing a future focused on cleaner, more sustainable air freight carriage.

Smartlynx Malta is planning to add two additional A321Fs during 2021 and up to four units during 2022, with a business target of becoming one of the largest narrow-body cargo freight carriers within the next three years.

Also entering the air freight market is the CMA CGM Group, a key player in ocean shipping and logistics. The company’s new air freight division, CMA CGM Air Cargo, is set to begin operations starting March 8 with the first Airbus A330-200F cargo flight between Liege, Belgium, and Chicago.

It will be joined on March 16 by a second Airbus A330-200F that will also serve the U.S. market, doubling the total offered capacity. CMA CGM has chosen Air Belgium and Liege airport as the strategic base for its operations.

CMA CGM Air Cargo will rely on the expertise of Air Belgium to operate the aircraft in its fleet. CMA CGM’s Airbus A330-200Fs will be based at Liege, one of Europe’s busiest freight hubs, strategically located in the heart of a large population center and benefiting from a number of intermodal transportation options.

“The launch of CMA CGM Air Cargo represents a significant event in developing a comprehensive range of logistics services for the CMA CGM Group’s clients,” Xavier Eiglier, director of CMA CGM Air Cargo, said. “These initial destinations in the United States demonstrate our desire to offer our clients international coverage, serving the biggest freight airports in the heart of major economic areas.”