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DHL And Amazon In Our Area: Competitors Or Partners?

Ann Thompson
Both DHL and Amazon use this DHL facility at CVG to process packages. The nighttime operation belongs to DHL.

While Amazon Air is under construction at CVG, it is using DHL's facility to sort and process packages transported by some of its aircraft. DHL Express also ships packages internationally for a range of Amazon products. But will the relationship change in 2021 when the Amazon Air hub is finished?

The Loadstar, a website about the supply chain, interviewed Mike Parra, CEO of DHL Express Americas.

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has asked me on several occasions whether Amazon is friend or foe. Well, it is one of our largest customers globally, so is undoubtedly friend," he replied.

He continued, "And I don't see that changing anytime soon. But even if it did, it is not so big that (its loss) would bring us to our knees. As for competing with us, its beach head is the U.S. and I cannot imagine it getting into the customs business."

After DHL General Manager Jeff Billingsley took WVXU on an overnight tour recently he said of Amazon, "I think the biggest thing is to continue to work closely with them and to build both the partnership and customer service for Amazon."

Billingsley explained, "We ship international for them around the world and so they are a customer. So I think that strengthens the partnership."

Amazon agrees, saying it has a "wonderful partnership with DHL at CVG." It would not talk about future plans.

Last May, Amazon broke ground on the $1.5 billion hub. It chose CVG for a number of reasons, including a skilled workforce, a centralized location and proximity to fulfillment centers. As part of the deal, CVG is leasing 900 acres for 50 years. Amazon will build a 3 million-square-foot facility. It will create more than 2,000 jobs. Six-hundred of them will be full-time. It will fly 40 Boeing 767s.

DHL is in the middle of taking possession of fourteen 777s. It showed off one of them to WVXU. Just the week before, it had hauled two Bugattis, a French automobile, to Asia. Each of the 777s can hold 230,000 lbs of freight.

Each night, DHL processes an average of 250,000 packages, flying them out on 60-75 aircraft.

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
This is the top deck of a 2019 777. The maximum cargo for this plane is 230,000 lbs.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.