Four DHL Innovation Centers worldwide serve as the cornerstone of the company’s innovation program of the DHL Group. In Germany, strategically located near the company’s headquarters in Bonn, DHL will start the construction of a new, cutting-edge, carbon-neutral European Innovation Center in Troisdorf in a few weeks. This establishment represents the company’s inaugural venture into wood construction, reaffirming its commitment to sustainability. The new DHL Europe Innovation Center will serve as a hub for trend research and technology development, providing innovative solutions to assist customers and partners in navigating their logistics journey. The anticipated completion date for the facility is set for April 2025.
“It is important for us to provide our customers and partners with the best possible experience, offering insights into forward-looking logistics. After around 15 years, we have reached the capacity limits of our current Innovation Center in Troisdorf,” says Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Customer Solutions and innovation at DHL. “The new DHL Europe Innovation Center facility will provide more space for various new exhibits and content and represent a pioneering dedication to environmental responsibility, social benefits, and economic viability. This new facility will serve as a beacon of sustainability, setting new benchmarks for the industry and reinforcing DHL Group’s commitment to a greener future.”
Holistic approach for the new, sustainable Innovation Center
Sustainability has been a guiding principle for DHL throughout the realization of the new DHL Europe Innovation Center. DHL focuses on using environmentally friendly materials from regional production during construction. Constructed from locally sourced cross-laminated timber, the groundbreaking facility marks the first timber-built facility in the DHL Group’s portfolio, yielding multiple benefits. This includes promoting a circular design and enhancing the well-being of employees and visitors, all while ensuring durability and superior aesthetics. The climate neutrality of the building is provided using green technologies, including a photovoltaic roof system.
The Innovation Center will feature a new showroom design, presenting future trends and technologies, unique exhibits, and immersive experiences. The new building will also have a modular and customer-orientated concept that allows flexible adaptations for different uses and purposes without oversizing the facility. With its optimized layout and structure, including conference and workshop facilities, the facility can be used for significant industry events and conferences. Covering roughly 5,000 square meters, the space is provided for events with up to 400 participants.
Partnerships within the region
Just five kilometers from the existing Europe Innovation Center, DHL has opted to remain in Troisdorf to construct the new facility, driven by strategic considerations. This decision reflects the success of the current Innovation Center’s location in the area and the strategic location of the company’s headquarters. It underscores DHL’s commitment to ongoing investment in North Rhine-Westphalia. The local community will benefit from the newly planned Innovation Center, developed in collaboration with the city of Troisdorf and regional providers.
“Troisdorf is anticipating the construction of the DHL Europe Innovation Center in the city center. DHL is making significant strides in innovation while reducing its carbon footprint, and this exciting challenge is one that we, as a city, are pleased to support. We are looking forward to the synergies that will emerge with the diverse business landscape in Troisdorf and beyond and thank DHL for placing trust in our strong economic location,” says Alexander Biber, Mayor of Troisdorf.
The former Innovation Center building is under DHL’s lease and will be relinquished to the landlord upon DHL’s departure.
DHL’s innovation approach and platform
DHL has four Innovation Centers in Germany, Singapore, the USA, and the United Arab Emirates. DHL takes a focused, user-centric, and systematic thought leadership approach to identify upcoming developments, new best practices, potential industry applications and the impact of these trends on logistics. For example, DHL continuously improves and integrates more efficient processes to ensure a secure working environment for all employees, while also staying vigilant for emerging technology trends. A recent proof of concept conducted in collaboration with DHL Global Forwarding in Denmark explores the integration of AI and computer vision into operations to enhance safety. The partnership with Protex AI, leveraging AI-powered technology, facilitates proactive safety decision-making through actionable insights.
The DHL Innovation Centers host workshops, innovation center tours, events, and collaborative innovation projects to better understand customer needs and identify actions to solve key supply chain challenges. Globally, these innovative hubs host over 15,000 visitors annually, engage with 100+ start-ups, oversee 150+ innovation projects, and involve 1,000 subject matter experts each year. These centers exemplify DHL’s commitment to shaping the future of logistics through groundbreaking innovations.