By KIMBERLY PIERCEALL
DHL, the German global shipping giant, will stop shipping within the United States on the ground and in the air effective Jan. 30, 2009, according to a recent announcement from the company.
The company will close its 262,000-square-foot hub at the March Air Reserve Base by the end of January, said Lori Stone, executive director of the March Joint Powers Authority, which oversees redevelopment of the former Air Force base.
The sole international flight into and out of March Air Reserve Base was moved to LAX last month. The remaining four daily flights connected cities inside the United States.
About 300 employees work in the shipper's rented facility off Interstate 215 in Riverside where packages are sorted and loaded onto trucks and planes from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. nightly.
DHL had been paying rent to March Global Port, the group of private investors charged with developing 350 acres around the base's airfield, which subleases the space from the March Joint Powers Authority. Global Port will still pay rent to the authority even after DHL leaves, Stone said.
"At this point we'll get together with Global Port within the next day or two and start strategizing," Stone said by phone.
All of DHL's 18 U.S. hubs will close, said John Mullen, chief executive officer of DHL Express.
When DHL arrived in October 2005 at the March Air Reserve Base, it was hailed by most local government leaders as a key to bringing high-paying jobs to the base and derided by residents living below the company's late-night cargo-plane flight path.
A 13,000-person work force in the United States will be cut to 3,000 employees focused solely on DHL's international business. The shipper will still ship into and out of the United States internationally.
The company announced in May that it would outsource all of its domestic business to competitor UPS in a proposed 10-year contract worth $1 billion annually for UPS. The company hopes to still have a deal with UPS before the end of the year, albeit modified, Mullen said during a recent press conference held in DHL's Bonn, Germany, headquarters.
"When we made the decision in May, we had decline in the U.S., but the rest of the global economy looked good," Mullen said. Now, "we see risk everywhere."
Published: Monday, November 17, 2008