An international shipping company has delivered on its plans for a bigger processing facility in the Richmond area.
After 21 years in the Park Central Business Park off East Parham Road, DHL Express has relocated to a new and upgraded service center near Richmond International Airport.
Totaling 39,000 square feet, the enhanced hub at 2740 Charles City Road is 87 percent larger than the company’s previous location and allows for quicker shipment processing and earlier deliveries.
The company is leasing the building and invested $7 million into the facility, outfitting it with upgraded package-handling equipment, including a new X-ray machine and sorting and inspection tables. According to a news release, the system can handle up to 3,900 packages per hour.
The freshly constructed warehouse is owned by Byrd II LLC, which developed the building and adjacent offices after buying the 11-acre site in 2019. Henrico property records show the LLC paid $1.5 million for the site, which the county has now assessed at $3.5 million. The property is managed by Maryland-based Dryfuss Management.
Compared to DHL’s previous space, the new facility can hold 13 more pickup vehicles for a total of 40, Station Manager Richard Montalvo said. The service center’s proximity to the airport has accelerated the arrival of packages by 20 to 30 minutes, he said.
Work on the space began in October 2020 and wrapped up last month, Montalvo said. Operations began June 13, two weeks later than planned due to delayed arrivals of certain accessories, including security systems and a weighing machine.
A long, automated conveyor extends from end to end of the sorting area, contributing to the faster workflow, Montalvo said. The previous center’s conveyor had to be cranked manually; now, its speed is determined electronically.
Montalvo said the company has a longtime relationship with Dominion Management Group Enterprises, which it uses for hiring subcontractors and drivers. As of now, DHL’s Richmond team consists of 28 drivers, 30 subcontractors and eight in-house staff.
The service center’s fleet of vans covers shipping for much of Central Virginia. Its range spans from Fredericksburg to Williamsburg to Charlottesville, serving both residential and commercial clients. Within the state, it has 125 regular customers who ship internationally. In the Richmond region alone, DHL services 2,000 customers.
Montalvo said that 90 percent of incoming shipments are residential packages, while 95 percent of outgoing cargo comes from businesses. Parcels exported by plane — the Richmond hub has its own aircraft — require an X-ray inspection. For items that can’t be scanned, the building has a canine on reserve for inspections.
Montalvo said DHL has no other expansion plans for this region but intends to invest in electric vehicles to meet its companywide sustainability goal of zero emissions by 2050. He said the facility is aiming to eventually add five EVs that would initially operate only in the Richmond area. DHL is in the process of obtaining the necessary permits.
DHL, part of Germany-based Deutsche Post DHL Group, is also in the process of constructing another service center in Norfolk, a similar upgrade for its coastal facility. It is planned to be operational by next summer.