DHL Express jumps Asia Pacific capacity on surging demand

Air Hong Kong
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DHL Express is expanding its airfreight capacity by 2,000 tonnes a week to cater to “surging shipment volume” both intra-Asia and between Asia Pacific and the US.

Following the recent introduction of a newly converted B737-800 freighter that connects Hanoi, Hong Kong and Bangkok,

The intra-Asia network has been boosted by a B737-400SF operated by K-Mile Asia that flies six times a week between Hong Kong and Bangkok. This is on top of a newly converted B737-800 freighter that DHL recently added between Hanoi, Hong Kong and Bangkok.

Additionally, Air Hong Kong has added a sixth flight rotation to the two existing routes served by the A300-600: Beijing-Hong Kong-Beijing, and Hong Kong-Cebu-Manila-Hong Kong.

To cater to the intercontinental cargo demand, an aircraft operated by AeroLogic, the joint venture cargo airline of DHL Express and Lufthansa Cargo, will fly six times a week from DHL Express’ Central Asia Hub in Hong Kong to its U.S. Cincinnati Hub.

AeroLogic B777F
This B777F aircraft is part of a recent delivery of the original order of 14 aircraft made in 2018.

“DHL Express remains committed to support our customers in growing their global footprint and entering new markets,” says Ken Lee, CEO, DHL Express Asia Pacific.

“We are investing close to EUR 750 million in our ground infrastructure and air network in Asia Pacific to ensure we respond nimbly to changing market needs.

“As economies recover from the global pandemic and income levels rise, we expect intra-Asia market to grow substantially, with a corresponding increase in demand for express logistics services propelled by the thriving e-commerce sector,” he added.

The pandemic and pandemic-related restrictions have further accelerated online sales growth, with Asia Pacific leading the charge, according to DHL. In 2020, e-commerce comprised half of the retail sales in Asia Pacific and this is expected to grow by 10 per cent to reach 61 per cent of retail sales by 2025.

This growth can be attributed in part to social e-commerce – the business of selling goods online through people’s social networks – particularly in China and emerging countries in Southeast Asia such as the Philippines.

The e-commerce sector in the Philippines has seen a surge in the midst of the pandemic, contributing 3.4 per cent, or USD 12 billion, to the country’s GDP in 2020, with the goal to increase e-commerce revenue to USD 24 billion, or 5.5 per cent of GDP, by 2022.

“To ensure we are ready to cater to the anticipated surge in demand during peak seasons, we consistently enhance our fleet and adjust our air network to provide our customers with the most efficient, time-definite international deliveries,” says Sean Wall, executive VP, Network Operations & Aviation, DHL Express Asia Pacific.

Wall notes that, “despite continued capacity crunch in the global supply chain, DHL Express’ dedicated freighters and strong network of partner airlines can continue to help companies stay resilient and responsive to their business needs.”

DHL Express’ Asia Pacific air network operates on a multi-hub strategy, supported by four main hubs – Central Asia Hub in Hong Kong, North Asia Hub in Shanghai, South Asia Hub in Singapore and Bangkok Hub, linking to 50 DHL Express gateways in the region.

DHL Express operates over 280 dedicated aircraft with 15 partner airlines on over 2,200 daily flights across more than 220 countries and territories.

In November 2020, DHL Express announced that it would spend close to EUR 750 million to enhance its ground infrastructure and air network. This was followed by three announcements made in April, May and August 2021, including:

  • adding airfreight capacity to its Asia Pacific network;
  • dedicated flights to Ho Chi Minh City and Penang amidst demand surge;
  • bolstered intra-Asia airfreight capacity.

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