DHL Express electrifies a third of ground fleet at Brussels Airport

A third of DHL Express ground fleet at Brussels Airport will be fully electric this summer following a successful trial.

Around 24 electric tractors, lifts and loaders that sort and transport time-critical shipments, are set to more than halve DHL’s CO2 footprint on the ground.

It forms the first phase of investment by the Stargate project at the airport, involving a consortium of 21 partners, including DHL Express, that have been awarded subsidies under the European Green Deal to develop projects for greener aviation.

The necessary charging infrastructure will be provided, both on the tarmac, by Brussels Airport, and at its own buildings. 

The cargo transporter’s crew buses and tarmac cars are already 100% electric.

“Electrifying a third of the ground equipment in just a few weeks - that’s quite a feat by our technical department. A heavy electric tractor or a high loader for an aeroplane are not exactly the kind of vehicles you take along to the garage. All the maintenance and training is carried out by DHL employees, now including that of the new electric tractors and chargers.

“From now on, we will continue to expand our electric ground fleet in phases; the fossil fuel machines will be systematically phased out and will soon be a minority,” said Kirsten Carlier, CEO of DHL Aviation. 

“We are pleased that we are taking the next important step in the electrification of ground handling equipment within our Stargate project, and that DHL Express is taking the lead.

This can drastically reduce both CO2 emissions and the noise impact of ground operations, which is important for both staff and local residents. We will, of course, help to provide the necessary charging points on the tarmac. We will also be testing hydrogen-powered ground handling equipment within Stargate, in order to see which infrastructure is needed for this too, so that we can support all our partners in their evolution towards more sustainable ground handling equipment," said Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport. 

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