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DHL Express to add 400 new jobs as online shopping surges, businesses prepare to reopen

End of coronavirus closures could spark slow recovery, but trucking freight markets won’t begin to really thaw until 2021, FTR analysis finds.

Shipping and logistics provider DHL Express says it is adding some 400 new jobs in the U.S. due to a double-digit volume increase in shipments compared to last year.

Volumes have significantly increased in recent months due to a spike in online shopping as people stayed quarantined due to Covid-19, said Plantation, Florida-based DHL Express, which is a business unit of logistics giant Deutsche Post DHL Group.

Urgent shipments such as masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) also contributed to holiday peak season-like volumes, but these volumes have come without the usual pre-season preparation time. “Inbound shipment volume is booming, particularly from Asia,” Greg Hewitt, CEO for DHL Express U.S., said in a release. “Our customers are relying on us to deliver their shipments, whether it’s personal protective equipment (PPE) or home necessities, so we must add staff at our hubs, gateways and on the road to continue providing our customers with excellent service.”

The hiring includes:

  • about 150 jobs at the DHL Express Americas Hub, at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, has seen a 30% year-over-year volume increase.
  • about 30 jobs at the company’s gateway at the Miami International Airport, which connects to destinations in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, and just added a new Hong Kong – Los Angeles – Miami flight that will run five times per week.
  • more than 50 permanent employees at DHL Express’ gateway at Chicago’s O'Hare International, which saw a 25% volume increase year-over-year in 2020.

Looking into future months, DHL expects shipment volumes to remain high as U.S. businesses restock inventory to prepare for factory and store re-openings in sectors of the economy that have been shuttered throughout the pandemic. DHL’s forecast was echoed today by another logistics group predicting a pending rebound as U.S. companies open up again following coronavirus restrictions.

Many freight-related economic indicators hit record lows in April, prompting the transportation industry analysis group FTR Transportation Intelligence to say the month likely marked the bottom of the pandemic contraction. Following an uptick in payroll employment in May, FTR said it expects post-April trucking conditions to improve sharply, although they are currently so low that they will still remaining in negative territory through early 2021.

Bloomington, Indiana-based FTR said its Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) reading for April was the lowest ever measured at -28.66, beating the previous low of -16.08 in September 2008.

“Spot market load volumes have recovered well since bottoming out in mid-April, although the recovery seems to have stalled out a bit. The unprecedented depth and speed of the contraction and the severity of disruption in supply chains and freight networks will make it difficult to assess in the short run whether higher volumes are merely temporary or part of a sustained rebound,” Avery Vise, FTR’s vice president of trucking, said in a release. "The critical question is what happens once consumers and businesses exhaust the trillions of dollars that Washington has pumped into the economy to offset the pandemic’s financial consequences. All that we can be sure about is that market conditions will not be as bad as they were in April.”

FTR says its TCI tracks changes in five conditions of the U.S. truck market, including: freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fuel price, and financing. Combined into a single index number, a positive score represents optimistic conditions, while a negative score represents pessimistic conditions and readings near zero signal a neutral operating environment.

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