Australia to gain DHL Singapore hub boost

New facility and linkages to speed parcel sorting as e-commerce surges

Australia to gain DHL Singapore hub boost
The opening ceremony. From left to right: Charlie Dobbie, EVP, DHL Global Network Operations, IT & Aviation, DHL Express; Ken Lee, CEO, DHL Express Asia Pacific; Ken Allen, CEO, DHL Express; Lim Hng Kiang, Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade); Lee Seow Hiang, CEO, Changi Airport Group; Yam Kum Weng, EVP of Airport Development, Changi Airport Group; Frank-Uwe Ungerer, SVP & managing director, DHL Express Singapore


It may be situated in Singapore but the new DHL Express South Asia Hub (SAH) development will prove a boon for Australian e-commerce logistics, DHL Express CEO Ken Allen insists.

The €85 million (A$121.5 million) facility that was officially opened last week is just the latest in a string of updated parcel- and document-related sorting centres the international service has updated or opened recently, not least in Australia and New Zealand.

Its opening follows that of the Melbourne and Canberra gateways in the past 14 months and one in Auckland in August, not to mention new facilities in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Jakarta this year.

One major impetus has been the continuing surge in e-commerce globally, with the Asia-Pacific region doing much of the driving.

DHL Express notes that between 2012 and 2015, the average daily shipments for Oceania grew approximately 50 per cent, South Asia at 30 per cent and Southeast Asia rose 25 per cent.

Touching on Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s comments last year on there now being a need for an eWTO (World Trade Organisation) to handle the e-commerce revolution, Allen says he "used to believe the big opportunity for B2C was domestic . . . but there’s a group of consumers out there that who want something, want it immediately" from anywhere it exists, and, despite the rise of protectionist sentiment, such e-commerce is where the next wave of growth would come from.

The 24-hour, 23,600 square metre express facility is located within Changi Airfreight Centre (CAC) at Singapore Changi Airport and DHL sees its cutting edge IT and hardware supporting its global service as well as regional gateways.

It is 33 per cent larger than the previously one, providing DHL with additional capacity to handle the growing shipment volumes for regional and international destinations.

With the hub located within the CAC, a 24-hour Free Trade Zone managed by Changi Airport Group, it "improves the flow of goods between aircraft and the facility, and allows consignments to be shipped or transhipped within an hour", DHL says.

"The DHL South Asia Hub is a significant milestone in further enhancing our multi-hub strategy in the region. With four hubs in Asia Pacific – Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Bangkok – this links over 70 DHL Express Gateways located throughout the region," DHL Express Asia Pacific CEO Ken Lee says.

"Together, these facilities reinforce our customer commitment to provide the most efficient international express connectivity between key markets in the region. This will also allow us to add more network flights in and out of Singapore, such as the recent introduction of the Phnom Penh-Bangkok flight that adds to our existing Bangkok-Singapore service, as regional trade continues to grow."

The facility processes up to 24,000 shipments and documents per hour and can handle more than 628 tonnes of cargo during the peak processing window.

This processing speed is six times faster, while the handling capacity is three times more, as compared to the manual operations in the previous facility.

The increased efficiency is achieved from the improved sorting speed and accuracy of the automated system, multi-dimensional tunnel scanners that accelerate barcode reading, and automated X-ray machines that scan packages up to three times faster than previous systems.

In addition, the facility is partially powered by solar energy, which supplies about 20 per cent of the hub’s total energy consumption.

These automation systems also enhance productivity, enabling employees to focus on higher value tasks such as risk mitigation to prevent potential shipment delays, issues management, and additional security inspection.

Called SAH, the facility aims to service a single DHL-identified region stretching from eastern India in the northwest to Australia in the southeast.

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