DHL Express adds freighter capacity in Asia

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

DHL Express is expanding its capacity on Asia-Pacific routes to prepare for the coming e-commerce peak season with a newly converted B737-800 freighter.

Operated by K-Mile Asia, a partner of DHL, the new aircraft offers a total gross payload of close to 140 tons weekly as it travels six times a week from Hanoi to Hong Kong and Bangkok before making its return to Hanoi. This is a 30 percent increase in capacity carried previously by the Boeing B737-400SF freighter.

“Asia Pacific has remained resilient despite the economic impact brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, we are seeing increased activity in cross-border trade and e-commerce within the region due to improved logistics, enhanced connectedness as well as reduced trade barriers,” said Ken Lee, CEO, DHL Express Asia Pacific.

“With the expansion of our airfreight capacity, we are confident that we can provide businesses in Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong with better access to other markets via our extensive global network and boost their economies in the process.”

Asia Pacific economies are bouncing back from the pandemic, DHL Express said. Exports are forecast to grow at a rapidly, as a result of stronger supply chain networks and ASEAN policy initiatives, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), that promote regional economic integration.

Increasing e-commerce demand

Likewise, Asia Pacific’s e-commerce sales are showing no signs of slowing down, and shoppers there are increasingly buying on overseas platforms.

“As consumers get used to shopping online, businesses are equally making the leap to digital platforms to conduct their B2B transactions, not to mention many of which are helmed by digital natives who have grown up in the age of the Internet,” said Sean Wall, executive vice-president, network operations and aviation, DHL Express Asia Pacific.

“Utilizing the B737-800 will also help us reduce carbon emissions by 15 percent as compared to the B737 Classic aircraft, which is one of the deciding factors as we accelerate toward our climate-neutral logistics target.”

The new B737-800 aircraft connecting Bangkok, Hong Kong and Hanoi joins three other aircraft in the fleet that concurrently and collectively serve Hong Kong, Phnom Penh, Singapore and Jakarta. It is also part of DHL Express’ commitment to bolster its Asia Pacific network with the investment of close to EUR 60 million by introducing new aircraft and direct routes.