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UPS, DHL Invest Millions in Warehouse Automation

UPS and DHL are making major investments in their logistics networks to strengthen their material handling and delivery capabilities.

For the third consecutive year, UPS will bring substantial processing capacity online globally at 20 new or remodeled, highly automated, data-driven facilities in 2020. The projects, as part of enterprise-wide transformation initiatives, will add more than 5 million square feet of new automated sortation globally ahead of the 2020 holiday season.

As part of the company’s major capacity expansions in 2020, UPS announced a commitment of approximately $1.4 billion for significant facility enhancements in Pennsylvania. UPS plans to open a new “super hub” in Harrisburg, along with highly automated package operations in Carlisle, Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia, creating more than 1,700 new jobs. Other UPS facility expansions planned for 2020 will be announced in the near future.

“From small business owners growing their customer base to manufacturers moving parts and products, and e-tailers looking for efficient and fast order fulfillment, companies of all sizes throughout the Northeast will benefit from UPS’s latest global network transformation initiatives,” Juan Perez, UPS chief information and engineering officer, said.

UPS noted that it is more than halfway through a three-year strategic investment in global network enhancements. When the investment cycle is complete, new automated facilities will drive 30 percent to 35 percent improved productivity when compared to manual processing in older sites. By the end of 2021, nearly 100 percent of eligible packages in the UPS network will be sorted with automated technologies.

The three new UPS sortation and distribution facilities in Carlisle, Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia feature automated scanning, sortation and conveyer technology that rapidly move packages through the facility, while capturing data to increase delivery accuracy.

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Construction is underway for the new “super hub” located in Harrisburg to be called the Northeast Regional Hub. It will facilitate enhanced movement of goods between markets that include Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The new hub joins five regional super hubs already operating in Atlanta; Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas; Phoenix; Salt Lake City; and Indianapolis, as well as two other “super hubs” scheduled to open in 2020 in Tacoma, Wash., and Ontario, Calif.

The high-speed “super hub” processing facilities reduce time-in-transit and enhance flexibility within the company’s hub-and-spoke network. Other highly automated UPS primary hubs include the Worldport air cargo facility in Louisville, Ky. and the Chicago Area Consolidation Hub  ground facility for truck and railway cargo, along with air network hubs supporting the company’s regional airline operations in Cologne, Germany, and Shenzhen, China.

DHL Express, meanwhile, said it has invested $3.8 million to expand its service center in Cleveland, Ohio. The move will accommodate further anticipated international trade growth resulting from a surge in e-commerce and a strong manufacturing presence in the region.

The expanded facility is strategically situated near the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and is about 20,000 square feet larger than the previous one. The expansion and addition of state-of-the-art equipment will maximize processing capabilities and enable earlier deliveries, benefiting international shippers in the greater Cleveland market and all of Northeast Ohio.

“International trade opportunities continue to grow throughout Ohio, as manufacturers that produce and export top-quality products need quick, easy access to global markets,” Nemer Abohasen, vice president and general manager of the Midwest Area for DHL Express U.S. “This expansion enables us to grow with our customers in Cleveland and the Northeast Ohio region, to meet the rising demands of global trade.”

Providing about 41,000 square feet of total space, the larger service center will be staffed by more than 50 Certified International Specialists who will have access to a new regional training center at the facility. In addition, the new facility will feature a higher-capacity interior conveyor system and accommodate a greater number of vehicles to handle pickup and delivery services in the greater Cleveland and Northeast Ohio area.