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Global logistics: UPS set for major expansion at Cologne/Bonn Airport

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
September 16, 2011

UPS said yesterday that it is making major expansions to its European air hub facilities at Germany-based Cologne/Bonn Airport.

This announcement came 25 years to the day when UPS began operations out of this airport. Company officials said the roughly $200 million expansion, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2013, will be comprised of equipping the existing facility with additional state-of-the-art technology and an extension to the existing building, with the building processing larger freight shipments.

And they added that these efforts will boost UPS’s package sorting capacity from the current level of 110,000 packages per hour to 190,000 packages per hour.

“There comes a time where facility expansion becomes necessary because you’re busting at the seams and that time has come in Cologne, especially with a view to our upcoming Christmas peak,” said UPS spokesperson Kristen Petrella in an interview. “Germany is UPS’s biggest market in Europe.  We were able to grow export volume more than 15 percent in 2010, and have grown it nearly 10 percent in the first half of 2011 versus the first half of 2010.”

A major driver of this expansion is expanding global trade for customers and having the most efficient, technologically advanced facilities is key to this undertaking, coupled with the company’s financial strength giving UPS the flexibility to invest for longer-term growth, according to Petrella. 

When UPS initially set up shop at Cologne/Bonn, reasons cited by the company for this move were its location, the well-developed road network and infrastructure, good local weather conditions throughout the year, an excellent runway system, and close proximity to a skilled and flexible workforce.

Petrella said this expansion is necessary because UPS has been “operating at full capacity and then some” for a while. The expansion will take place in stages, with the first stage operational for the pre-Christmas peak this year, and the final stage due for completion at the end of 2013. 

“The big benefit here is that the expansion will ensure customers in Europe and all over the world continue to enjoy the highest possible levels of service in today’s highly competitive, fast-moving global economy,” she said. “UPS’s goals include providing excellent service, being where its customers are and assisting them in remaining competitive.  This expansion helps us to do just that.  Again, having the most efficient, technologically advanced facilities is key.”

This expansion will be the largest infrastructure investment outside the U.S. in UPS’s history.  And since the last expansion, the UPS Cologne/Bonn hub has been widely recognized as one of the most advanced package sorting facilities in the world, and going forward this will be evident with the installation of new, state-of-the-art package sorting technology that will significantly increase capacity by 70 percent, noted Petrella.

UPS has roughly 2,300 employees at the Cologne/Bonn Airport, and the company said this expansion will add up to 200 jobs by the end of 2013. 

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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