DHL Express plans to invest 131 million euros ($144.5 million) to nearly triple the size of its package sort facility adjacent to South Korea’s Incheon International Airport to help keep up with the rapid rise of e-commerce shipments in the region.
The upgrades will increase total handling volume by more than 150% and increase its footprint from 20,000 square meters to 58,700 square meters – making the Incheon facility DHL Express’ largest gateway in the Asia Pacific region, once it is completed in mid-2022, the company said Tuesday.
New infrastructure will include fully automated X-ray inspection machines to speed up security and compliance checks, a four-kilometer conveyor belt, automated sorters, magnetic speed controllers and full CCTV coverage.
“Our quality and speed are crucial for our customers and the main pillars of our growth around the world” and the new investment will further improve transit times in Asia, CEO John Pearson said in the October 15 announcement.
South Korea has one of the world’s highest rates of online shopping and is projected to become the third-largest online retail market after China and the U.S. by 2032. E-commerce sales are estimated to reach $2.5 trillion by 2023 in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Forrester, and the hub is strategically located to route shipments between high-volume markets such as Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.
The German parcel carrier, part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group, said it’s Incheon Gateway facility has experienced a 45% increase in shipment volume since opening in 2008.
As part of DHL Group’s efforts to eliminate logistics-related carbon emissions by 2050, the facility will also include the use of solar power and energy-efficient lighting systems.
Incheon is the fourth-largest airport for cargo tonnage, according to Airports Council International.