DHL Breaks Ground on Seoul Hub

DHL, the express courier company, has expanded its presence in South Korea after breaking ground last week on a $50m logistics hub at Seoul's Incheon international airport, writes Keith Wallis.

The facility, which was given the green light last November, is part of a $75m investment DHL plans to make in South Korea over the next several years.

Cash is also being earmarked to develop the existing network and enhance operational and service capabilities, including the consolidation of existing service centres and the upgrading of facilities.

The new logistics centre, which is being built adjacent to the foreign airlines terminal and will replace an existing smaller facility, is due to be completed at the end of next year. The complex will have the capacity to handle about 500 tonnes per day and will more than triple the sorting rate from the current 2,500 packages per hour to 8,000 items.

The Incheon centre will complement DHL's existing hubs at Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The facility, which is being built on a 2ha site, will serve as a consolidation and distribution centre for South Korea and other areas, including Mongolia, Guam, Saipan and the Russian far east.

DHL Express Asia Pacific chief executive Dan McHugh said: 'Hubs like Incheon, Hong Kong and Shanghai serve different markets. Our latest commitment, which expands the existing facility by five-fold, shows our commitment to Incheon's huge potential for growth.' He added that DHL decided to invest at Incheon because the airport has strong regional and intercontinental connections, allowing for improved transit times to cities around the world.

South Korea is also set to become more attractive as a logistics centre after governments in Seoul and Washington DC inked a free trade agreement that is expected to boost cargo volumes.