DHL's £16m Investment Powers Up East Midlands Airport with Electric Ground Service Fleet

Published: Tuesday, December 19, 2023

DHL Express UK has announced 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 electric ‘nose lifter’ vehicles which lift aircraft to push them back from their parking stands, five high-loaders and six 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 operations more sustainable and follows recent announcements such as DHL’s investment in Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) 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 1m individual items pass through the airport each night – including household items, personal electronic devices, clothing, luxury cars, medical supplies and manufactured components.
By the end of the financial year, EMA predicts that 400,000 tons 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, vice president 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, commented: “DHL’s investment is a positive development as we, as an industry, take steps to decarbonize. 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.