The Long Haul: DHL Express on Latin America
Largely overshadowed in North America, DHL Express is looking to make some noise to rival incumbents FedEx and United Parcel Service.
With a leg up in a growing Latin American market, the company may have found the right foot in the right door to experience huge growth.
“Clearly in the United States, UPS and FedEx dominate the market, but we’re doing very well in the international arena,” DHL Express Americas CEO Stephen Fenwick says. “In South America, we’ve been there the longest, and we’re second to none in service in Latin America.”
Through Southern Air, the company recently announced that it will put three 777’s in operation to aid its global fleet. The long-range, wide-bodied aircraft is the world’s largest twin-engine plane and can travel more than 9,000 nautical miles.
SIMULATION OF 777 TAKEOFF FROM CINCINNATI
“Its overall efficiency and carbon efficiency is outstanding, and it’s able to travel long distances to help our global network,” DHL Aviation Vice President Red Alexander said.
The first of DHL Express Americas “Triple-7’s” is already in operation, and flies between Hong Kong, Cincinnati and Bahrain in Dubai. The second two 777’s are expected to join the fleet in early 2012.
With its North American hub at Cincinnati, DHL Express Americas has witnessed a 20 percent year-on-year volume growth in the division. The company has its own expansive network in Central and South America, where they’re able to control the market.
The company works wonders out of its Panama City cargo hub, where they’ll then forward shipments throughout South America, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.
The interesting arrangement of DHL’s air freight operation in the Americas is that the company does not own its own fleet in the region. Instead, the logistics company works with a number or airline partners to get the job done.
DHL America’s main partners include ABX Air, Astar Air Cargo and Capital Cargo International.
The company is able to overcome that challenge by investing heavily in its airport facilities. DHL Express Americas recently invested in its Panama hub, and is in the process of upgrading its facilities in Miami to better service the Latin American market.
“Miami, Panama and Madrid really service that part of the world for us, and we’re investing in those points to grow our capacity,” Fenwick said. “Our hub in Panama has cut transit times to certain areas by one day.”
If South America is truly the next market to take off, it looks like DHL will be in the perfect position to take advantage thanks to its fleet and infrastructure investments.
DHL Express Invests in Electric Cargo Plane Fleet
DHL Express has ordered 12 fully electric cargo planes to supercharge efforts in reducing carbon emissions across its US delivery network.
The Alice eCargo planes are manufactured by Seattle startup Eviation, and are designed specifically to be configured for either cargo or passengers. The first planes are expected to be delivered to DHL Express in 2024.
“We have found the perfect partner with Eviation as they share our purpose, and together we will take off into a new era of sustainable aviation,” said John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express.
The purchase forms part of DHL’s €7bn investment in reducing CO2 emissions by 2030, with a zero emissions target set for 2050.
“We firmly believe in a future with zero-emission logistics,” Pearson added. “On our way to clean logistics operations, the electrification of every transport mode plays a crucial role and will significantly contribute to our overall sustainability goal of zero emissions.”
What is Eviation's Alice Aircraft?
- Manufacturer: Eviation
- Capacity: 1,200kg
- Range: 815km
- Charge time: 30 minutes
- Launching: 2024
Eviation’s Alice aircraft enable cargo and passenger airlines to operate zero-emission fleets. The plane can be flown by one pilot and is capable of carrying 1,200kg, with a maximum range of 815km.
The aircraft can be fully charged in 30 minutes, which can take place while the vehicle is loaded and unloaded between flights. Eviation says that, because the aircraft has fewer moving parts - or points of failure - than traditional aircraft, they are more reliable and reduce maintenance overheads and downtime.
“With Alice’s range and capacity, this is a fantastic sustainable solution for our global network,” said Travis Cobb, EVP Global Network Operations and Aviation for DHL Express. “Our aspiration is to make a substantial contribution in reducing our carbon footprint, and these advancements in fleet and technology will go a long way in achieving further carbon reductions.”
How Does Alice Compare with UPS’ eVTOLs?
DHL Express is not alone in electrifying the skies. In April, UPS announced a new fleet of eVTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) aircraft, from Beta Technologies, which will enter service in 2024.
UPS’ vehicles can carry 635kg with a 400km range and cruising speeds of up to 170mph. The eVTOLs can carry cargo to several short-hops or one long route on a single charge, and are aimed at healthcare organisation, SMEs and businesses in small or remote communities.
“These new aircraft will create operational efficiencies in our business, open possibilities for new services, and serve as a foundation for future solutions to reduce the emissions profile of our air and ground operation,” said Juan Perez, UPS Chief Information and Engineering Officer.
The first 10 eVTOLs will be delivered in 2024, with the option for UPS to order up to 150 more.