A new door to the world - built in record time
The story reads like a modern fairytale. Two million square meters of empty land near the gates of Leipzig has been turned into the most state-of-the-art airfreight hub Europe has ever seen and thousands of new jobs have been created - all within a space of less than three years.
Michael Reinboth will go down in history of DHL's Leipzig hub as a pioneer. The project manager has been in the front line from the word go. "The key question at the time was whether it would be possible to create thousands of new jobs, to deal responsibly with natural resources, to convince the local population to accept the flight operations and at the same time to remain focused on the interests of a listed global group." Taking stock: It worked! The jobs are there, the hub's track record in environmental protection is exemplary, most skeptics have been won over and business could not have gotten off to a better start.
A brief glance back: political decisions halted the expansion of DHL's largest hub in Europe which is located in Brussels. However, in order to grow its business in Europe, the company needed planning security, transport rights and unrestricted night flights. The location at Leipzig/Halle turned out to be the most attractive commercial option in the end.
Around 300 million euros invested
Around 300 million euros worth of investment was poured into the hub. Architect Helmut Bergsträßer starts to wax lyrical when listing the construction superlatives. The 413-meter-long warehouse has the biggest sorting system for parcels and documents in Germany. The huge building is the same size as five soccer fields and is geared for further expansion.
The high-tech sorting street alone cost 70 million euros. The hourly capacity is enormous with the system capable of handling 100,000 items per hour. Four fully-automated sorting belts run one on top of the other.
Every night around 60 aircraft from all corners of the globe land at the hub
The DHL hub operates around the clock, 365 days of the year. Every night around 60 aircraft from all corners of the globe land at the new airfreight hub. They are primarily state-of-the-art long-haul aircraft, so-called silent jets, that fall way below all statutory noise reduction values. DHL aircraft also set global standards in respect to fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.
One glance at the list of interconnected destinations highlights the importance of Leipzig as the gateway to the world for all of DHL's business. The latest summer schedule of the DHL fleet at Leipzig and DHL's two other international airfreight hubs includes Bahrain, Delhi, London, New York, Paris, Singapore, Kiev, Prague, Sofia, Warsaw, Istanbul and Moscow.
The planes land on the 3,600 meter runway, take up their fixed clearance positions, swap containers and take off again into the night. The parcels are then sorted and cleared for onward transport by air, truck or rail. In order to ensure the aircraft are checked thoroughly at regular intervals, a hangar was built to accommodate DHL's Boeings and Airbuses.
A hangar for the attendance of the aircrafts
The hall is big enough to accommodate two of the largest Airbus A 380 passenger aircraft side-by-side. Markus Otto is responsible for the hangar. He proudly points out the underfloor heating in the hangar that stands 30 meters tall. "Our engineers never get cold feet here", the expert says, with a twinkle in his eye. DHL's fuel depot is also impressive. It is just a stone's throw away from the hangar. The three fuel tanks can hold around 11 million liters of kerosene.