In a move that further establishes its dominance in European logistics, UPS announced a $200 million expansion of its European air hub facilities at Cologne/Bonn Airport in Germany.
The expansion, which took two years to construct, represents one of UPS’s largest facility investments in the company’s history.
“With this upgrade, we now have the equivalent of 15 football fields of sorting space for a growing export economy on the move,” said Cindy Miller, President, UPS Europe. “All of this ensures that UPS’s Cologne/Bonn air hub remains the centerpiece of the company’s European express network, a key component of UPS’s global air operations, and one of the largest and most advanced sorting facilities in the world.”
The operating area now measures more than 105,000 square meters (1,130,000 square feet). The addition of eight automated sorters increases the hub’s package sorting capacity by 70 percent to 190,000 packages per hour – or around 53 packages per second. The conveyor system now covers a distance of about 40 25 miles, with a package taking an average of just 15 minutes to move through the hub from unload to load point.
“We see solid demand for capacity in the EU-Asia trade,” said Brian Clancy, Managing Director of Logistics Capital & Strategy, LLC. “That’s a trend that is forecasted to continue.”
Brandon Fried, president of the Air Freight Forwarder’s Association (AfA), said that as shippers becomre more “e-freight focused,” adequate technology to handle the task is essential.
The UPS expansion equips the existing facility with additional technology and includes a building extension that is partially dedicated to processing larger express freight shipments. The Cologne/Bonn facility serves as an international logistics hub for both major multi-nationals as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe wishing to tap into UPS’s trading network.
According to Milller, the Cologne/Bonn hub is a “flagship” facility in Europe.
“Our strategic investment in Germany, one of the world’s top exporters, underscores our commitment to the European economy,” he said. “This is part of a long-term strategy to help shippers successfully compete and do business on the important trading lanes within Europe and linking Europe to North America and Asia in an era when free trade agreements on the horizon promise growth for companies large and small.”
As reported in LM, UPS was an early investor in European operations with Germany as its hub, thereby helping with solid export volume growth over the past decade.