DHL completes expansion of its Americas Hub

Raising the ground level for DHL’s new north apron at CVG

DHL Express completed a major expansion of its main hub for the Americas, and is on a hiring spree to increase its workforce there by almost 40%.

The expansion at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG) includes a new, 45 acre (18.2 hectare) north ramp with sixteen additional aircraft gates (bringing the hub’s total capacity to sixty-five gates), and new storage and warehouse space for ramp equipment and shipping containers. The $108 million expansion also includes additional automated sorting capability and 40 new reload positions.

DHL said projected shipment growth (driven by e-commerce) and the addition of a new day sort operation would require it to hire 900 more workers, raising its total headcount at the CVG hub from the current 2,400 to 3,300.

As we recently reported, the DHL expansion at CVG will be followed by the construction of Amazon’s massive new air hub. Amazon and the Airport Authority signed a term sheet for a definitive lease that will serve as a blueprint for Prime Air’s future air hub. CVG said the term sheet specified the lease of 900+ acres for a term of 50+ years. Amazon’s current Prime Air fleet plan calls for forty 767 freighters by the end of 2018, but when the new facility at CVG is completed, it will have room for about 100 aircraft.

In 2015, the last year for which complete data are available, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport was the world’s 35th-busiest cargo airport, and the 9th-busiest in the US. Cargo Facts believes CVG’s 2016 handle was about 742,000 tonnes, up 1.6% over 2015, but as Amazon moves in and DHL expands, the rate of growth will increase, and we expect that before too many years have passed CVG will move up past Indianapolis (IND) and New York (JFK), and possibly even past Chicago O’Hare (ORD) in the US for total cargo handled.

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