Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

DHL automates parcel sorting at Singapore hub

Steve Rogerson
October 25, 2016

DHL Express’ €85m hub at Singapore Changi Airport is outfitted with the industry's first fully automated express parcel sorting and processing system in south Asia. The 24-hour express hub facility located within the Changi Airfreight Centre (CAC) covers 23,600 square metres and is set to boost its operational capacity and efficiency, offering speedier deliveries for customers in the region.
The opening of facility is timely as DHL has recorded healthy shipment growth in recent years, particularly in the southern part of Asia Pacific. Between 2012 and 2015, the average daily shipments for Oceania grew approximately 50 per cent, south Asia at 30 per cent and south-east Asia rose 25 per cent.
This facility is a third larger than the previous hub, providing DHL with additional capacity to handle the growing shipment volumes for regional and international destinations. With the hub located within the CAC, a 24-hour Free Trade Zone managed by Changi Airport Group, it improves the flow of goods between aircraft and the facility, and allows consignments to be shipped or transshipped within an hour.
"Over the years, we've invested significantly to bolster our network and services in Asia Pacific,” said Ken Allen, CEO of DHL Express. “Our investment in the DHL South Asia Hub is the most recent in a series of global network investments made, and is the largest infrastructural investment made in Singapore to date. The country's strategic location not only boosts our operational network capabilities, but also supports growing trade in the region aided by a stronger global economy."
The facility processes up to 24,000 shipments and documents per hour and can handle more than 628 tonnes of cargo during the peak processing window. This processing speed is six times faster, while the handling capacity is three times more, as compared with the manual operations in the previous facility.
The increased efficiency is achieved from the improved sorting speed and accuracy of the automated system, multi-dimensional tunnel scanners that accelerate barcode reading, and automated x-ray machines that scan packages up to three times faster than previous systems.
In addition, the facility is partially powered by solar energy, which supplies about a fifth of the hub's total energy consumption. These automation systems also enhance productivity, enabling employees to focus on higher value tasks such as risk mitigation to prevent potential shipment delays, issues management and additional security inspection.
"The DHL South Asia Hub is a significant milestone in further enhancing our multi-hub strategy in the region,” said Ken Lee, CEO of DHL Express Asia Pacific. “With four hubs in Asia Pacific – Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Bangkok – this links over 70 DHL Express gateways located throughout the region. Together, these facilities reinforce our customer commitment to provide the most efficient international express connectivity between key markets in the region. This will also allow us to add more network flights in and out of Singapore, such as the recent introduction of the Phnom Penh-Bangkok flight that adds to our existing Bangkok-Singapore service, as regional trade continues to grow."