DHL breaks ground on new Chicago service center

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Global express delivery and logistics provider DHL has announced it has broken ground on a new, modernized service center operation two blocks south of O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. DHL will invest $7 million in the new 78,960-square-foot facility, which will serve DHL’s local pickup, delivery and sorting operations. The new DHL Chicago service center is expected to be operational by early 2007.

This is the second recent major facility investment by DHL to enhance operations in the Chicago area. In September 2005, DHL opened a new 70,000-square-foot facility on West Cermak Road serving the Chicago loop area and providing pickup and delivery services for DHL’s largest customers in the financial, legal and banking industries. The new airport area facility will feature new conveyors and sorting systems to process a higher volume of customer shipments more quickly throughout the Chicago area.

“The Chicago area has always been an important market for DHL, with a high density of customers ranging from major national accounts to small businesses,” says Carl Rodriguez, senior area vice president of operations for Plantation, Fla.-headquartered DHL. “This new facility will ensure that customers shipping to and from the Chicago area continue to receive the highest level of service from DHL, and also positions DHL for future customer growth in the area.”

The new facility, located closer to the main artery off of Mannheim Road to improve DHL customer access, will handle a wide variety of shipments, including domestic and international parcels, as well as palletized, loose-load and container freight. The facility also will provide a throughput capacity of 7,500 packages per hour and will employ nearly 250 personnel when fully operational.

“DHL has maintained its leadership in the global delivery market for more than three decades through the continuous expansion of its transportation network, the enhancement of its portfolio of domestic and international shipping services, and by providing superior customer service to meet the needs of a growing, global customer base,” says Fred Beljaars, executive vice president of operations for DHL.

The new Chicago service center investment is one of many initiatives DHL has undertaken to improve its U.S. network efficiencies and connectivity systemwide. In 2004, DHL Express announced a $1.2 billion network investment program in the U.S. market, which has resulted in a newly expanded primary air and ground hub in Wilmington, Ohio; seven new regional sort centers; a West Coast distribution facility, and the development of a $107 million East Coast distribution facility in Allentown, Pa.

Other recent investments include DHL’s largest on-airport service center facility, which opened in May 2006 at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport; a $181 million service center in Manhattan, which opened last month along with a new foot-courier facility; and a new service center facility being built at the Salt Lake city International Airport.