DHL Express electrifies its ground fleet at Brussels Airport

Cargo transporter DHL Express at Brussels Airport is leading the way in electrifying its ground-handling equipment. The company’s crew buses and tarmac cars are already 100% electric, and over the past days and weeks, the company has put eleven electric tractors and thirteen electric container lifts, belly loaders, and pushbacks into operation at Brussels Airport.

So, this summer, one in three tractors and loaders that sort and transport time-critical shipments from Brussels Airport will be fully electric. And that is just the beginning because DHL has the ambition to electrify its entire ground fleet at the airport. Brussels Airport will provide the necessary charging infrastructure on the tarmac and in its buildings.

Fully electric ground fleet

DHL Express aims to develop a fully electric ground fleet at the airport in phases, with more sustainable and quieter machines than their diesel counterparts. After electrifying one-third of the ground equipment in just a few weeks, DHL Express already has Brussels Airport’s largest electric ground fleet.

Emissions from ground-handling equipment account for 55% of the total CO2 footprint of DHL Express ground operations. Full electrification, therefore, means halving their CO2 emissions.

Greener aviation

Express carrier DHL is being supported in the investments by the Stargate project, a Brussels Airport project with a consortium of 21 partners, including DHL Express, which has been awarded subsidies under the European Green Deal to develop projects for greener aviation.

The Stargate participants will work on 30 concrete projects to make aviation and airports greener and more sustainable. These projects include building a biofuel blending installation at the airport, using electric ground handling material, and testing a new innovation that will make engine test runs much quieter.

Stargate project

DHL Express is committed to investing in electrical ground-handling equipment under the Stargate project. In the coming years, it intends to remain a leader in electrifying its ground fleet at Zaventem.

And what about flying electrically and further reducing CO2 emissions? “Unfortunately, an electric cargo plane, such as a Boeing 777 or Airbus A350, is still a long way off,” says Kirsten Carlier, CEO of DHL Aviation. “Probably not even for the next decade. The development of alternatives will require research and time…”


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