UPS officially opens European air hub expansion
UPS has celebrated the official opening of a $200 million expansion of its European air hub facilities at Cologne/Bonn Airport in Germany that will continue to serve as Europe's window into the world of international trade and export.
The expansion, which took two years to construct and has already created an additional 200 jobs, constitutes one of UPS's largest facility investments in the company's history and cements its position as the largest employer at the airport with a 2,500+ strong workforce today.
"With this upgrade, we now have the equivalent of 15 football fields of sorting space for a growing export economy on the move," said Cindy Miller, President, UPS Europe. "All of this ensures that UPS's Cologne/Bonn air hub remains the centrepiece of the company's European express network, a key component of UPS's global air operations, and one of the largest and most advanced sorting facilities in the world."
The operating area now measures more than 105,000 square meters. The addition of eight automated sorters increases the hub's package sorting capacity by 70 percent to 190,000 packages an hour, or around 53 packages per second.
The conveyor system now covers a distance of about 40 kilometers, with a package taking an average of just 15 minutes to move through the hub from unload to load point.
The expansion equips the existing facility with additional state-of-the-art technology and includes a building extension that is partially dedicated to processing larger express freight shipments.
The Cologne/Bonn facility serves as an international logistics hub for both major multinationals as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe wishing to tap into UPS's world-class trading network.
"The Cologne/Bonn hub is our flagship facility in Europe and continues to serve us and the needs of our customers well," said Miller. "Our strategic investment in Germany, one of the world's top exporters, underscores our commitment to the European economy.
“This is part of a long-term strategy to help our customers successfully compete and do business on the important trading lanes within Europe and linking Europe to North America and Asia in an era when free trade agreements on the horizon promise growth for companies large and small."
As an early investor in European operations with Germany as its hub, UPS has enjoyed great success in Europe with solid export volume growth over the past decade.
With the Cologne hub expansion in place, UPS can reliably connect the world to Europe, and Europe to the world like never before and has positioned itself for continued growth in its international express business.
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.