DHL opens new South Asia hub in Singapore
By Lee Hyo-sik
DHL Express has opened its new South Asia hub in Singapore as part of its efforts to take advantage of the region’s growing cross-border trade.
The US$93 million facility, located in the Changi Airfreight Center (CAC) at Changi International Airport, is widely expected to bolster the multinational express service provider’s capacity to process the increasing number of mail and parcels moving to and from, or within, South Asia.
The hub, which operates 24 hours a day, is equipped with the industry’s first fully automated express parcel-sorting and -processing system in the region, according to company executives, who said it has boosted the firm’s operational capacity and efficiency, offering speedier delivery for customers.
“Over the years, we have invested significantly to bolster our network and services in the Asia-Pacific region,” DHL Express CEO Ken Allen said during a ceremony to mark the opening of the firm’s new logistics hub in the city state on Oct. 18.
“Our investment in DHL’s South Asia hub is the most recent in a series of global network investments made, and is the largest infrastructural investment in Singapore to date,” Allen said. “The country’s strategic location not only boosts our operational network capabilities, but also supports growing trade in the region aided by a stronger global economy.”
The CEO said the time is right for DHL Express to open the new logistics hub as it has recorded a strong growth in shipments in recent years, particularly in the southern part of the Asia-Pacific region. Between 2012 and 2015, the average daily shipments for Australia and New Zealand grew about 50 per cent and South Asia 30 per cent.
The new facility, built on a 23,600-square-metre site, is 33 per cent larger than the previous facility, providing the company with additional capacity to handle the growing volume of shipments with regional and international destinations.
Its location within the CAC, a 24-hour free trade zone, improves the flow of goods to and from cargo planes, and allows consignments to be shipped or transshipped within an hour, DHL Express said.
“The new South Asia hub is a significant milestone in further enhancing our multi-hub strategy in the region,” DHL Express Asia Pacific CEO Ken Lee said. “With the other three hubs in the Asia Pacific – Hong Kong, Shanghai and Bangkok – the facility links over 70 DHL Express gateways throughout the region. It also allows us to add more network flights in and out of Singapore as regional trade continues to grow.”
The Singapore hub, which employs 250 workers, can process up to 24,000 shipments and documents per hour and can handle more than 628 tonnes of cargo during the peak processing window. Its processing speed is also six times faster, while handling capacity is three times larger, compared to manual operations in the previous facility.
The increased efficiency is achieved from the improved sorting speed and accuracy of the automated system. Multidimensional tunnel scanners accelerate barcode reading, while automated X-ray machines scan packages up to three times faster than previous systems.
The facility is also powered by solar energy, which supplies about 20 per cent of the hub’s total energy consumption. These automation systems enhance productivity, enabling employees to focus on higher value tasks such as risk mitigation to avoid potential shipment delays, issues management and additional security inspections.
DHL Express is a division of Deutsche Post DHL Group, the world’s largest logistics company.
With about 340,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, DHL connects people and businesses securely and reliably, enabling global trade to flow.
With specialised services for growth markets and industries including technology, energy, automotive, retail and life sciences and healthcare, a proven commitment to corporate responsibility and an unrivalled presence in developing markets, the group generated more than US$64 billion in sales in 2015.