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DHL Express UK injects investment into East Midlands Airport

DHL Express UK injects investment into East Midlands Airport
DHL Express UK injects investment into East Midlands Airport

Logistics specialist DHL Express UK has announced a £16 million investment in electric ground handling equipment at East Midlands Airport. The investment will stretch over three years. 

This latest investment will see 100 new electric ground equipment introduced at the airport as the company looks to make cargo handling fully electric by 2032. 

Electric ground handling equipment includes towing airplanes or luggage carts. The investment by DHL Express UK are: 

  • Twenty-eight electric tugs. 
  • Five state-of-the-art nose lifter vehicles – used for airplane parking stands. 
  • Five high-loaders. 
  • Six electric belts for load shipments. 

East Midlands Airport’s Managing Director, Steve Griffiths says: “DHL’s investment is a positive development as we, as an industry, take steps to decarbonise. We’re committed to becoming a net zero airport by 2038 and innovations like DHL’s help move us a step closer to that goal. As the UK’s largest pure air cargo hub, the port of East Midlands Freeport, an early adopter of green innovation in the aviation industry and a site with further untapped potential, I believe there is a bright future for us.”

DHL makes innovative moves 

In November, DHL commissioned its fourth e-commerce warehouse in Germany. The move is part of the company’s DHL fulfillment network (DFN). The DFN model was developed in Germany and has a global network of 30 locations around the world. 

In September, DHL supply chain pumped €80 million (about AU$132 million) into a dedicated biomethane production facility run by Stream BioEnergy. This initiative will reduce the logistics company’s carbon tax by 15,000 tons. 

Electric ground handling at airports 

Some of the most common electric ground handling equipment are water trucks, luggage trucks, container loaders, and belt loaders. 

In August 2022, leading airport service provider Menzies Aviation performed a fully electric turnaround at Budapest Airport. In a statement by Menzies Aviation emphasized that this sustainable solution reduces emissions from ground handling equipment by about 80%. 

Markets and Markets reports that the airport ground-handling industry is witnessing urgent demand to improve airport infrastructure. Several countries have banned the use of diesel ground-handling equipment such as Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. 

Benefits of electric ground handling equipment: 

  • Better for the environment – Electric equipment is emission free. 
  • Fuel-efficient to operate – Equipment is more efficient when powered by electric motors. 
  • Noise reduction – Electric motors are quieter than diesel-powered engines. 
  • Easy to use – Electric equipment requires less training to use. 

Electric ground handling equipment 

Mordor Intelligence reports advancements in ground-handling equipment including electric operated plays an important role in driving the industry. “The demand for electric ground handling is increasing due to lower noise, no emissions, and higher efficiency. Compliance with stringent regulatory norms and reduced maintenance requirements are driving the adoption. Airport operators continuously replace their aging fleet with advanced and efficient electric vehicles.” 

About the author

Sharl is a qualified journalist. He has over 10 years’ experience in the media industry, including positions as an editor of a magazine and Business Editor of a daily newspaper. Sharl also has experience in logistics specifically operations, where he worked with global food aid organisations distributing food into Africa. Sharl enjoys writing business stories and human interest pieces.

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