DHL Express announced that it is investing more than $360 million to build new and expand existing facilities in key growth markets within the Americas region.
The company also intends to spend millions of dollars on measures to bolster its Americas air network, such as introducing new, direct flight routes. The investments, which began in 2020 and run through 2022, come on the heels of significant B2C and B2B e-commerce shipment growth, where the Americas countries experienced, on average, 33 percent more shipments per day in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the previous year.
The Americas region countries and areas include the United States, Canada, Mexico, South and Central America and the Caribbean. For the U.S., shipment volumes were up 41 percent in the first quarter year over year.
“Globalization has continued to show its resilience, fueled by digitalization and the power of global trade,” Mike Parra, CEO of DHL Express Americas, said. “With an ever-increasing number of consumers shifting their shopping activities online and the sharp rise in businesses selling their goods in the global marketplace, we need to continue the critical investments in our network infrastructure to meet the growth demands in international e-commerce and global trade.”
Many of the infrastructure investments will focus on the company’s facilities, which include service centers for pickup and delivery operations, gateways that manage the international clearance of shipments, and hubs that operate as shipment transfer points to and from regions of the world. An expanded state-of-the-art hub in Miami, Fla., that is currently under construction will be the sixth-largest DHL Express hub globally by Time Definite International (TDI) volume.
A new, 244,000-square-foot automated hub in Hamilton, Canada, is another major DHL investment in the region. Once finalized, the new hub will be four times the size of the current one.
DHL Express will also be adding new service centers and upgrading existing facilities throughout its regional network to support first- and- last-mile pickup and delivery operations, also enhancing other hubs and gateways and expanding its retail footprint in key markets in South America.
In Mexico, significant investments will support the growing Time Definite Domestic (TDD) market. To serve first and last-mile shipment processing, 105 self-service kiosks will be installed at retail counters for customer convenience during 2021. Hubs and gateways will be upgraded with state-of-the-art automation in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey, and service centers will be expanded in key markets throughout the country.
In Brazil, the Viracops Gateway in Capinas will be upgraded to expedite the processing of TDI shipments to and from the country. Expansions are also taking place in other South American countries, including new retail service point locations in Chile and Colombia, and an expanded gateway in Lima, Peru.
All of these investments, which include new technologies to improve operational efficiencies, will increase volume capacity in the DHL Express Americas network by nearly 30 percent by the end of 2022, the company said.
“The growth in e-commerce shipment volumes will continue to put pressure on air cargo capacity in the industry, which has led to our continued investments in new dedicated aircraft and routes,” Parra added.
Since 2019, 14 new DHL-owned 777F aircraft have been added to the company’s global fleet, many of which serve points between the Americas region and the rest of the world. Of the original 14, four were put into operation in 2019, six in 2020, and four will support the network this year. An additional eight aircraft will be added between 2022 and 2024.
The company has also increased its third-party aircraft lift serving the Americas, as well as direct leasing of additional aircraft, some of which will be destined for operators in the U.S. in exclusive support of the DHL Express network. Along with the renewal of other existing aircraft lease arrangements and bringing on new operators for the Americas, the investments in aviation will help the company maintain its high service levels and capacity needs for years to come.
All of these investments open up thousands of new job opportunities across the Americas, DHL said. In the U.S., more than 2,600 new jobs are expected to be filled throughout 2021, in addition to the 3,000 that were created in 2020. These new jobs will include 1,100 new positions at the DHL Americas Hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport and nearly 200 at the expanded hub in Miami.