DHL Express’ Incheon airport cargo hub becomes fully operational

DHL Express has commenced full operations from its Incheon Gateway facility following the completion of a €131 million (KRW 175 billion) expansion project.

The investment is DHL Express’s largest in South Korea to date, making Incheon Gateway the largest gateway in the Asia-Pacific.

According to DHL, the expansion aims to address the increasing air cargo demand at the complex, as a result of growing overseas trade in South Korea and increase in international express import and export with Asia-Pacific countries, including Singapore, Japan, China, Australia, and Taiwan.

Sean Wall, DHL’s executive vice president of network operations and aviation for Asia Pacific, said: “We are handling more cargo in South Korea in recent years, and we expect the demand to continue on its upward trajectory.

“Between 2011 and now, the transit cargo handling volume we handled in the country grew more than threefold.

“The opening of the expanded Incheon Gateway arrives at a right time as it plays an important role to facilitate regional and intra-Asia trade, particularly for the Northeast Asian region, including Dalian, Qingdao, Wuxi, Ulaanbaatar, and Guam.”

The enhanced Incheon Gateway now boasts a gross floor area of 59,248 square meters – three times the size of the previous Gateway at 19,946 square metres.

As a result, its hhandling capacity is boosted by over 3.5 times to reach 28,400 pieces per hour.

In terms of facilities, the complex houses a 5.5 kilometre-long conveyor belt and 19 automated X-ray inspection machines to ensure shipment contents are safe and compliant.

Moreover, says DHL Express, it now makes Incheon Gateway one of its most important logistics facility, connecting global DHL hubs and gateways through seven dedicated DHL aircraft and 40 aircraft from partner airlines.

This, it says, can address the ever-growing transit shipment demand in the Northeast Asian region.

To process import and export shipments faster and more efficiently, the Incheon Gateway features a fully automated sorting and handling system.

In particular, an automated document and small parcel sorter can efficiently process over 10,000 parcels an hour, significantly enhancing the handling speed and operations competency. As a result, more than 30 minutes of delivery time for imported goods is saved.

To minimise greenhouse gas emissions, the facility is partly powered by solar energy. A 1-megawatt solar power generator is installed – spanning the entire rooftop area (5,700 square meters) of the Gateway.

The solar generator can produce energy that covers roughly 30% of the facility’s consumed energy, thus reducing around 650 tons of carbon emissions annually. This marks the first instance among cargo terminals within Incheon International Airport to use solar energy.

ByungKoo Han, country manager of DHL Express Korea, enthused: “The Incheon Gateway serves as a strategic facility that connects South Korea and the Asia Pacific region to the world.

“Since its initial opening in 2009, the handling volume of import and export at Incheon Gateway has increased by more than 90% in 2022.

“With this expansion, we are confident that we can adeptly manage the surge in shipment volume and cater to the increasing demand for international express delivery over the coming decade.”

South Korea is the world’s sixth largest e-commerce market. The larger Incheon Gateway will also now better support Korean cross-border e-commerce companies to grow in overseas markets.

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