DHL Plans $47M Expansion at Airport

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor Following a $22 million expansion last year, shipping giant DHL Express USA Inc. plans to invest $47 million to build a 193,000-square-foot sorting building and upgrade its current 520,000-square-foot sorting facility at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. [...]

Following a $22 million expansion last year, shipping giant DHL Express USA Inc. plans to invest $47 million to build a 193,000-square-foot sorting building and upgrade its current 520,000-square-foot sorting facility at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The project will create more than 280 new jobs.

Ninety-two percent of DHL’s U.S. air volume moves through Cincinnati. The hub is its primary sorting facility in North America, serving about 40 international flights daily and processing an estimated 2.6 million pieces of cargo every month. DHL expects the figure to grow with the expansion.

The Bonn-based global express delivery company has received approval for $1.5 million in tax incentives from the commonwealth of Kentucky. But the expansion is still waiting for approval from Boone County. A meeting to discuss the project is scheduled for February.

Construction will begin as soon as pending state and local tax credits are approved. DHL officials hope to have the new facility operational by November–in time for the busy holiday shipping season–and fully finished by March 2013.

DHL Express already has about 2,000 workers in the region. Five hundred fifty of them are full-time employees at the Hebron airport. Recently, the company added flights to the airport, and it is preparing to bring in three state-of-the-art Boeing 777 freighters, the world’s largest twin-engine cargo plane.

With the expansion project, the hub’s operational capacity will greatly improve, making it DHL’s gateway for all shipments to and from international locations.

DHL has been present in the region since 1983 and now accounts for 40 percent of the airport’s landed weight. Its growth has provided a significant boost to the airport, especially with the decline in passenger travel, and will continue to do so in the future. The expansion would add 120 full-time jobs and 163 part-time jobs to the area.