DHL builds $140 million hub at Changi Airport

SINGAPORE - DHL Express will build a 24-hour express facility at Changi Airfreight Centre at Changi Airport that will enable it to use Singapore as its regional hub, the firm announced today.

The DHL Express South Asia Hub will cost $140 million to construct and will be DHL's largest infrastructure investment in Singapore once completed early next year.

It will feature a fully automated express parcel sorting and processing system, the first of its kind in South Asia. This will be able to handle a cargo throughput of over 628 tonnes a day and process 14,000 shipments an hour.

DHL's current manual system handles up to 225 tonnes a day or 2,400 shipments an hour.

DHL Express chief executive Jerry Hsu told a briefing today that the hub would leverage the "unmatched regional connectivity" provided by Changi Airport and Singapore.

Mr Yam Kum Weng, executive vice-president of air hub and development at the Changi Airport Group, noted the growing popularity of e-commerce companies such as Taobao and Rakuten in Asia as a factor behind the growth of the express cargo market.

The Changi Airport Group manages Changi Airport, as well as the Changi Airfreight Centre, a 24-hour Free Trade Zone. It has been working with DHL Express on its expansion plans since 2013 and assisted it in identifying a suitable location for its new larger facility, as it was projected to outgrow its current one according to Mr Yam.

The Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Mr Teo Ser Luck, told the gathering that Singapore's "strategic location" placed DHL's facility here at the "heart" of its network in South and Southeast Asia, and made it a "vital springboard" to regions such as Europe and Oceania.

DHL says it will be able to support up to five times more flights in Singapore once the facility is completed.

Mr Teo, in noting that Singapore was ranked as the top logistics hub in Asia by the World Bank last year, confirmed the continued support of the Government for the logistics industry, citing the $3 billion Changi Airport Development Fund announced in last month's Budget.