DHL Express UK is to make a £16m investment in electric ground service vehicles and infrastructure at East Midlands Airport

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, five state-of-the-art electric ‘nose lifter’ vehicles which lift aircrafts to push them back from their parking stands, five high-loaders and six electric belt-loaders for loose load shipments.

The investment 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.

Operations are accelerating across East Midlands Airport (EMA) 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.

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.”

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.

The investment is part of a major sustainability drive
The investment is part of a major sustainability drive DHL