DHL Express hires for Atlanta hub expansion

A box of DHL packages is prepared to be shipped on Wednesday, December 16, 2020, at DHL Express in Atlanta. Workers at the shipping center worked to fulfill orders during the holiday rush. CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

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A box of DHL packages is prepared to be shipped on Wednesday, December 16, 2020, at DHL Express in Atlanta. Workers at the shipping center worked to fulfill orders during the holiday rush. CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

DHL Express has started hiring for the expansion of its cargo operation at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport into a regional hub.

The German delivery company handles international shipments to the United States. DHL leases about 65,000 square feet of space in Cargo Building C at the Atlanta airport. It is is preparing to transform its gateway operation there into a larger hub operation starting in October by hiring about 60-80 more employees.

DHL’s main U.S. hub is in Cincinnati. But Darryl Wettlaufer, DHL Express vice president of Americas hubs, said Atlanta is an ideal location for a regional hub to transport international shipments through Atlanta and to the Southeast. The expansion adds the ability for DHL to ”open a new flight network into Atlanta,” he said.

In addition to existing daily cargo flights from Cincinnati, DHL plans to eventually add a flight from Europe to Atlanta, with the possibility of other international routes to Latin America in the future, Wettlaufer said.

The company has about 55 workers at its Atlanta gateway operation, and is hiring warehouse agents, ramp workers and supervisors over the next couple of months to prepare for the initial launch of the hub with a total of about 130 employees.

DHL plans to eventually have 300-400 employees at the automated hub, which is designed to handle about 20,000 packages an hour, Wettlaufer said. The company also has service centers in Atlanta, Smyrna and Norcross, and substations in Macon, Augusta, Albany and Columbus.

The Atlanta hub expansion has been long-planned by DHL Express, but was delayed during the pandemic. “You’re dealing with supply chain shortages and limitations” for imports and exports, including slowdowns and social distancing protocols, Wettlaufer said.