DHL has inaugurated an expanded hub facility in Central America, located at Tocumen International Airport in Panama. The move allows DHL to sort up to 5,000 packages per hour at the facility, a 250-percent jump from its previous handling abilities in that region. According to the company, the $4.5m hub was designed to optimize space, resulting in increased shipment capacity and a 10-percent improvement in aircraft departure times. At 83,000 square feet, the facility is three times larger than its predecessor. It features a number of innovations and technology systems, including a cold room for storing packages that require temperature control, a new material-handling system and a repackaging area. The center includes various high-security measures, such as a private room for storage of high-value items, ramps that enable packages to be unloaded directly from the plane, and security cameras, which monitor the facility on a real-time basis via the internet. The new hub was created in response to a rise in international trade between the U.S. and Central America, the result of recent free-trade agreements, DHL said.
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