DHL Express invests £16m in electric ground service equipment at East Midlands Airport across three years

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Airside operation to be fully electric by 2032

DHL Express invests £16m in electric ground service equipment at East Midlands Airport across three years as part of its commitment to sustainable operations.

December 2023 - DHL Express UK has announced a £16m investment in electric ground service vehicles and infrastructure at East Midlands Airport, demonstrating how international trade is being supported through the use of electric power. 

Split across three years, the investment will see the introduction of 100 pieces of new electric ground service equipment as DHL aims to make its airport ground-handling operation fully electric by 2032. The new equipment includes 28 electric tugs, 5 state-of-the-art electric ‘nose lifter’ vehicles which lift aircrafts to push them back from their parking stands, five high-loaders and 6 electric belt-loaders to loose load shipments.

The investment in electric ground service equipment is part of a wider commitment to making DHL’s International Express operation more sustainable and follows recent major announcements such as DHL’s investment in Sustainable Aviation Fuel and the addition of new fuel-efficient 777 Freighters. 

The investment coincides with operations accelerating across the airport ahead of the Christmas period, when more than one million individual items pass through the airport each night – everything from household items, personal electronic devices and clothing to luxury cars, medical supplies and manufactured components. By the end of the financial year, EMA predicts that 400,000 tonnes of goods will have been handled, underlining the crucial role the airport plays as a hub for goods coming from and to all over the world. 

James Neill, VP Operations EMA Hub at DHL Express UK said: “We are excited to be making this investment in our operations at EMA and showcase our commitment to using the latest green innovations. As well as making progress in reducing emissions resulting directly from flights and aviation fuel, it’s important that we’re looking at every aspect of our operation to make gains everywhere we can.” 

Steve Griffiths, East Midlands Airport’s Managing Director, says: “DHL’s investment is a positive development as we, as an industry, take steps to decarbonise. We’re committed to becoming a net zero airport by 2038 and innovations like DHL’s help move us a step closer to that goal. As the UK’s largest pure air cargo hub, the port of East Midlands Freeport, an early adopter of green innovation in the aviation industry and a site with further untapped potential, I believe there is a bright future for us.”

To drive further improvements to its airport ground-handling operation, DHL is investing an additional £7m in replacing and enhancing non-electric ground support equipment such as de-icing rigs.