DHL Supply Chain: truck attractor

DHL Supply Chain converted one of its existing warehouses in Altona into a transport hub that is set to accommodate future growth

DHL Supply Chain: truck attractor
DHL transport president Les Logue


Next-day delivery services have reached another level following DHL Supply Chain’s move to transform the Harcourt Road warehouse in Victoria’s Altona into transport operations.

Previously operating as a warehouse, the site now services 185 clients across multiple sectors such as technology, life science and healthcare, consumer and retail, with over 100,000 deliveries made each year.

More than 100 commercial vehicles access the hub each day, some operating multiple legs within a 24-hour period.

DHL transport president Les Logue says the 14,000 square metre facility is serviced by 50 vans, 30 rigid pallet trucks and over 30 semi-trailers and B-doubles daily.

"Added to this there are outsourced sea container and rail container movements weekly," Logue says.

"This facility allows DHL Supply Chain transport operations in Victoria the space to grow, drive improvements and deliver efficiencies into their business."

Room to grow

DHL’s capacity is set to increase as a result of the new operations, leading to a greater specialised freight and customer base.

"This results in improved handling time, quicker load and unload, which has a positive impact, ensuring we are on road with the fleets earlier, therefore [achieving] improved efficiencies, earlier delivery times and an increase in customer service levels," Logue says.

The leased site became a transport hub on January 21. It offers consolidation and nightly linehaul services to Tasmania and South Australia several nights a week.

The facility receives product from all parts of Australia, of which the majority comes from New South Wales.

It offers no storage but goods are processed and distributed within a day, ensuring a reliable overnight service for DHL’s customers.

Read about DHL's Chemist Warehouse supply chain deal, here

"This includes deliveries from main street receivers to large distribution facilities, from supermarket chains to medical distributors," Logue says.

He says the location was chosen because of the proximity to existing DHL warehouses.

"This brings a greater degree of flexibility to our operations and gives customers an increased flexibility and timeframes in their order placements by allowing later pick up while still ensuring overnight distribution," Logue adds.

Delivery in full, on time, will improve, with the average delivery per vehicle set to increase by five per cent through earlier departures.

"This facility is supportive of a transport operation, large floor space, access doors, awning and a traffic flow designed for ease of operation."

There are some 120 staff and contractors working on the site.

Wireless fleet and operator management system InfoLink is embedded into 15 forklifts, with several fitted with blue spot warning lights alerting pedestrians and other forklifts approaching blind corners, cross aisles and exiting trucks.

"Our vehicles operate with telematics and have text-stopper devices fitted as well," Logue says.

"The transport business runs a TMS system that uses a top-of-class routing tool and a home delivery system.

"This all links via out transport management centre in Sydney and allows customer access through our portal, ConnectedVIEW."



DHL Supply Chain, which provides warehousing services and is part of Deutsche Post DHL Group, was established in 1998 in Australia.

With more than 200 customers and 3,200 employees, the division has 270 vehicles across 50 locations, covering sectors such as healthcare, consumer, aerospace, automotive and retail and technology.

The total warehouse space in Australia is more than 600,000 square metres.

Globally, there are more than 1,000 DHL supply chain experts within 82 offices in 46 countries.

DHL Supply Chain has spent some $188 million on growth in South East Asia between 2013 and 2015.

Seven new facilities were opened to cater for growing consumer, retail, technology and automotive sectors, as the region’s middle class grows.

The facilities include bespoke solutions to target growth in specific industries.

A new DHL Express South Asia Hub was developed in 2016 to help speed parcel sorting as e-commerce surges.

The $121.5 million facility is the latest in a string of updated parcel and document related sorting centres the international service has updated or opened recently.

Its opening follows that of the Melbourne and Canberra gateways and one in Auckland, including new facilities in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Jakarta in 2016.

Global context

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.

The South Asia hub is located within Changi Airfreight Centre at Singapore Changi Airport and DHL sees its cutting edge IT and hardware supporting its global service as well as regional gateways.

The 23,600 square metre express facility provides DHL with additional capacity to handle the growing shipment volumes for regional and international destinations.

It also "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 between key markets in the region. This will also allow us to add more network flights in and out of Singapore, such as the 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 hub follows DHL Supply Chain’s development of two new warehouse and office buildings in Sydney’s west to accommodate growing demand from the consumer, retail and healthcare industries.

The facilities, encompassing 58,225 square metres, were completed in May, 2016, expanding on the company’s four existing facilities in the Oakdale Industrial Estate, Horsley Park.


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