DHL begins $47m update of Sydney hub to regional operation

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 June, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 June, 2003, 12:00am

DHL Worldwide Express, Asia-Pacific's No1 overnight delivery company, yesterday began a multi-million-dollar revamp of facilities at Sydney airport to bring its Oceania hub up to the standards it has set for its five other regional gateways.

The Brussels-based express and logistics company, a subsidiary of Deutsche Post World Net, has earmarked an initial investment of A$9 million (HK$47 million) to refurbish the former Virgin Blue passenger centre at Sydney.

It will become a hub capable of handling about 20,000 shipments, or 90 tonnes, daily.

'In the Asia-Pacific, DHL's operations centre around six hubs, which act as distribution points for the rest of Asia and link into our international networks,' John Mullen, DHL's chief executive (Asia-Pacific) said. 'The development in Sydney is part of our on-going investment aimed at strengthening our capabilities and service in the region.'

The Sydney hub, to include a 6,200-square-metre warehouse and package-processing centre, would have an initial six-year lease and was planned to be operational within nine months, the company said. The timing dovetails with DHL's hub launch in Hong Kong, also slated for the first quarter next year. The Hong Kong express centre, estimated to cost US$100 million, is being built from scratch and will be home for a fleet of six A300-600 'general freighter' aircraft.

From Sydney, DHL would operate what it said was the only dedicated daily freighter across the Tasman Strait to Auckland, using B727F equipment. it controls about 40 per cent of Australia's air-express market.

'DHL has operated from the current [Sydney] airport facility since 1996,' DHL Express director (Oceania) Gary Edstein said.

'Since then we have experienced substantial growth in shipment volumes.

'We needed to upgrade our infrastructure.'

Overall, Sydney airport's air-freight volumes are growing at between 6 and 8 per cent a year.

DHL also has Asian hubs in Singapore, Seoul, Bangkok and Tokyo.

In March the company merged with one of the region's busier freight-forwarding and logistics firms, Basel-based Danzas AEI, to carve out a portion of the Asia-Pacific's growing sea freight market.

Deutsche Post last year generated more than two billion euros (HK$18.11 billion) in sales and Danzas moved about 300,000 teu (20ft equivalent units) of seafreight across its global network.