Expanded DHL hub comes alive overnight

Jun 13, 2013

Over the past four years DHL has spent $105 million at CVG to meet the growing international shipping demands for companies like Luxottica, GE Aviation and P & G. Thursday it will inaugurate its newly expanded global super hub.


  • $46 million investment includes 193,000 sq. ft. sorting facility, making it easier to handle bigger packages (2012-2013)
  • $12.5 million upgrade to Auto Sort Technology (2010 – 2011)  
  • $22.5 million 19-acre expansion to allow for nine new aircraft gates (2011)
  • $6 million expansion to Ground Service Equipment and Employee parking lots (2012) 
  •  $18.5 million to establish operations at the CVG hub (2009)

WVXU got an overnight tour of the DHL super hub at CVG; one of four worldwide. The other hubs are in Leipzig, Germany, Hong Kong and Shanghi.

The life of a package inside the massive DHL cargo handling facility is fast moving and precise. Training Manager Tim Painter explains one of about eight steps until the package is back in the air. "You see these red lights going off and on? That's the package going through a scanning tunnel, scanning the barcode."

There's certainly a sense of urgency at DHL's super hub at CVG. From catwalk to catwalk on three different levels you get a glimpse of the process that includes everything from control rooms to containers. 125,000 packages are sorted every night for distribution in the U-S or internationally. Mike Parra is senior vice president of the Americas. "Over 40 to 41 planes that we are parking in a very short window. The window is about 4 hours."

On this night weather was a concern. Duty Manager Alan Bogart was wondering if any planes would be diverted.  Any diversion would mean DHL has to work extra hard to get the packages back to CVG at a later time. Today's inauguration and ribbon cutting is for another cargo facility that will handle more packages over 100 pounds.

DHL's impact on Northern Kentucky:

Northern Kentucky developers are hoping to cash in on the continued expansion of DHL at CVG. In May WVXU's Mark Heyne reported  "much of the growth is thanks to a wealth of resources such as available land, a well-trained workforce and nearby transportation, including the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and DHL."

Even last July, Tri-Ed's Karen Finan was touting the benefits of having DHL nearby. She showed off building N2 at Park West International, a series of bulk distribution buildings available for lease and about three miles away from the DHL hub. She said then,  "We're starting to see a surge of interest in Northern Kentucky, particularly in this product type." Finan was marketing this building and others to e-commerce customers who wanted to be close to DHL.

Facts and figures about DHL at CVG

  • 125,000 packages sorted per night (108,000 pieces per hour)
  • 4 miles of conveyor belts
  • 2,000 employees
  • 80 dedicated aircraft each day (Boeing 777, 767, 757, 747, 727)
  • 97 acres of airline parking
  • DHL's principal air hub at CVG connects over 100 service centers and international gateways

In 2009 DHL ceased its domestic air-cargo operations and closed its operations in Wilmington, Ohio.  At CVG, DHL's operations are international.