As the busy holiday shipping season reaches its peak, DHL Express is putting its new Atlanta air hub through its paces.

The new DHL Express hub opened at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in October, allowing the company to add cargo flights from London and Brussels and ship packages more efficiently.

Some packages come into Atlanta after connecting through DHL’s Cincinnati hub, but others are arriving on freighter aircraft flown in directly to Atlanta from overseas.

The efficiency helps as package volumes ramp up in the days leading up to Christmas and year-end holidays.

Workers at an Atlanta DHL Express service facility near the airport are handling more packages this month as the holiday shipping season reaches its peak. There, about 40 drivers load their trucks each morning with some of the boxes and packages that were flown in on DHL cargo aircraft overnight.

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

DHL Express handles international shipments to and from the U.S., and station services manager Ray Aylward said he has seen about a 15% bump up in package volume for the peak holiday period compared with the rest of the year.

There are about 3,000-3,500 express packages to deliver from the DHL Express Atlanta service facility every day, from Apple laptops to Shein clothing to Luxottica sunglasses to shoes. Some small retailers also ship items from overseas to customers, “and that’s where you see the spike on residential volume,” Aylward said.

An extension to the 18,645-square-foot facility was added to accommodate more trucks, and about eight drivers were added at the facility to staff up for the busy period.

Earlier in the pandemic, “volume was off the chain because a lot of people were working from home,” so e-commerce deliveries to homes spiked, Aylward said. Now, he said, volume is still heavier during the holiday period, but hasn’t increased significantly from last year’s holiday volume.

With its focus on international shipments, DHL is not as large as UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service in the United States, but it is a major logistics company globally.