DHL Freight's new freight center is the latest hub in the Europe-wide network. What's more, a variety of futuristic technologies are being tested and implemented here.
The construction time set a new record
It was only one year between the ground-breaking ceremony for DHL Freight's new transshipment facility in Hanover-Langenhagen and its opening in September 2019. A modern freight center for DHL Freight's Europe-wide network was built on 63,000 square meters. Above all, innovative technologies and solutions for the "Terminal for the Future" are in use here. Testing, evaluating, adapting, operating – that's how fast progress in logistics is possible when new technologies are systematically tested and implemented.
DHL Freight is committed to innovation
Some of the innovations are already in use, such as:
- DHL Freight has established a Control Tower, where all streams of goods in Europe are monitored, providing a unique opportunity to consolidate complex data and identify areas where operations may be optimized. The staff in the control room has, for example, access to the current posi-tion of arriving and departing trucks, sees real-time capacity distribution and can allocate resources on an on-demand basis. This data transpar-ency increases the overall efficiency of the terminal processes.
- The Yard Manager, is an Internet-based software, which acts as the central interface between, among other things, the Control Tower, service units, placement equipment and the workshop. The application is extremely user-friendly, improves cross-departmental team collaboration and, above all, standardizes technical processes. This is a major benefit, not least for the security of the site.
- Connected Supply Chain (CSC), a sys-tem developed for BMW that digitally maps the entire supply chain for all the parties involved. Order and status information is visible via a portal. Drivers have access to CSC via an app tailored to their needs. The cooperation partner for this innovation was Siemens Digital Logistics (formerly AXIT), the specialist for cloud-based, cross-company solutions.
- Portable assistance devices, such as the barcode scanner, which employ-ees wear like a ring on their finger and thus have both their hands free. The scanned information can be trans-ferred to computers or smartphones via Bluetooth.
- Flexible hall marking using projec-tor technology on the ceiling of the terminal: lane markings, arrows and specially separated areas can be projected onto the hall floor. The advantages: The demand-oriented distribution of space, and no need for regular renewal of physical markings. Loading zones that are not always used as such are available for storage on a daily basis, and visitors or employees are guided safely through the terminal on specifically designated routes.
Promising innovations on the verge of breakthrough
Some of the optimizations DHL Freight is currently evaluating include:
- Intelligent forklifts: real-time shipment tracking, integrated weighing function and inductive charging of lithium-ion batteries. These are the key features that these silent helpers in Hanover have to offer.
- Cleaning robots: Cleanliness is an important factor in every DHL terminal. Depending on their programming, vacuuming robots support different levels of cleanliness and reduce the noise level compared to conventional devices.
- Time-efficient volume measurement: Via infrared, camera or laser technology, measuring gates record the volumes of a pallet load while the loaded forklift truck passes by without stopping. It couldn't be more time-saving.
Sustainability also means environmental protection
In line with the Group-wide environmental protection strategy GoGreen, the new site meets the latest standards of sustainable construction. A photovoltaic system, heat exchange pumps and LED lighting save energy and reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of the plant. DHL Freight is thus contributing to the Group-wide goal of reducing all logistics-related emissions to zero by 2050.
"Lighthouse projects are welcome in Langenhagen, and such an innovative commercial use is particularly suitable at this location from an urban planning point of view," said Mirko Heuer, Mayor of Langenhagen, at the ground-breaking ceremony for the terminal in the summer of 2018.
Highest service quality as well as sustainable, efficient and customer-oriented logistics solutions - that is what makes a market leader. With this new terminal, we have once again proven our leading positionThomas Vogel, Chief Operations Officer DHL Freight
Facts that speak for more efficiency
In the over 8,300 square meter transshipment hall with more than 80 loading docks, around 260 employees handle freight for the Europe-wide EuroConnect general cargo network and the Eurapid premium general cargo service. The location also plays an important role in DHL Freight's Euronet full load service. A team of Euronet experts supports customers at home and abroad with tailor-made logistics solutions – from on-site transport management to the complete design and optimization of incoming and outgoing goods flows. In the new DHL Freight transshipment center, the sites from Stelingerstrasse and Büttnerstrasse in Hanover have been merged. The capacities of the existing network have increased significantly.