DHL Express to open largest distribution center in Antwerp
On Wednesday, DHL Express opened a new city hub at Blue Gate business park in the south of Antwerp. The 12 000 square meters distribution center will be the largest operated by DHL Express in Belgium and will focus on zero-emission parcel delivery, using cargo bikes and electric delivery vehicles.
When fully operational, the hub will employ 125 people. The new city hub replaces the old center on the Noorderlaan in Antwerp, which had become too small and was no longer suitable for modern and sustainable urban logistics.
50 000 packages
The new center, the largest of DHL’s nine distribution centers in Belgium, will collect and deliver an average of 50 000 packages per week to the city of Antwerp and its suburbs. The sorting machine can currently handle 6 000 parcels per hour, and in time this capacity can be increased to 10 000 parcels per hour.
According to Danny Van Himste, the managing director of DHL Express Belux, this new city hub brings the company a big step closer to its mission of being fully CO2-neutral by 2050.
“CO2 emissions are drastically reduced. Thanks to the hub’s ideal location, we can only use electric cargo bikes and delivery vans for optimal and sustainable city distribution,” says Van Himste.
From now on, half of the packages destined for the city center will be delivered by electric cargo bikes, the Cubicycles, and the other half by electric delivery vans of the e-Crafter type.
The goal is to make the entire Antwerp delivery service, including the suburbs, the port, and the wider area, CO2-neutral by 2030 by deploying 90 electric delivery vehicles. The infrastructure for this, including 60 charging stations, is already in place.
Moreover, the BREEAM-certified DHL Express building has also been built ecologically. For example, thanks to the business park’s location along the water, most building materials could be delivered by water.
Besides, 1 000 solar panels provide the building with renewable energy while its connection to a heating network allows it to exchange heating with other companies and use renewable energy when available.
Due to the corona crisis, e-commerce is on the rise, and companies like DHL see expansion opportunities. In Belgium, DHL Express, the international express service of Deutsche Post DHL, is, therefore, recruiting 600 new employees over two years for jobs in all areas of the company.
“Because of Covid-19, more people started to order online,” says Antwerp’s Alderman for Work, Innovation, and Economy, Claude Marinower (Open Vld), to the Belga press agency.
“That will continue even after the crisis, which will lead to more traffic in the city. I am, therefore, pleased that DHL Express is committed to sustainable city distribution and that the company chose Blue Gate Antwerp, where we are working on the transition to a sustainable and circular economy.”
Blue Gate Antwerp, the former Petroleum South area, is the first eco-effective and circular business park in Belgium. It offers companies 63 hectares of space for sustainable and circular business.