UK’s biggest cargo airport ready for ground equipment electrification

The announcement forms part of a wider plan for logistics giant DHL to electrify its ground handling equipment at East Midlands Airport. 

The cargo facility was expected to handle 400,000 tonnes of goods in 2023, making it Britain’s busiest entry point for imported items arriving by air. DHL, the world’s second largest logistics company, has a significant presence, and bases its DHL Air UK arm at the terminal. 

With an investment of £16million, more than 100 pieces of new electrical ground service equipment will be brought into operation. This includes 28 electric tugs, five state-of-the-art electric ‘nose lifters’, five high-loaders, and six electric belt-loaders. The news follows the company’s recent investment into Sustainable Aviation Fuel development, and the introduction of new Boeing 777 Freighter planes to significantly improve efficiency compared with older models. 

‘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,’ said Steve Griffiths, East Midlands Airport’s Managing Director.

‘We are excited to be making this investment in our operations at EMA and showcase our commitment to using the latest green innovations,’ added James Neil, VP of operations EMA Hub at DHL Express UK, confirming that a further £7million was also being spent on replacing and enhancing non-electric ground support equipment. For example, de-icing rigs. ‘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,’ he continued.

More on sustainability in aviation and logistics: 

Biomethane HGVs en route to UK’s biggest ports

Frozen food temperature rise could mean major emissions cut

£9m sustainable fuel facility set for Northern Ireland


Image: DHL


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