On 17 November 2021, an event was held on the grounds of Vilnius Airport to mark the start of construction of the new DHL Lietuva express terminal, during which a symbolic time capsule was placed in the building's foundation to signify the importance of this building for the present times. The innovative and sustainability-oriented build-to-suit terminal project is managed by investment management company Eika Asset Management’s (EAM) "Eika Real Estate Fund" (EREF). The completed building will remain in the ownership of this fund, with an estimated investment of EUR 6.3 million. The project is expected to be completed one year later, in Q3 2022. The general contractor for the terminal, which is also responsible for the design process, is Eikos Statyba.
"Our investments and those of our partners in an international express terminal are particularly relevant at this time, as the COVID-19 pandemic has been plaguing the world since the beginning of 2020. For much of this time, our region, like the rest of the world, has been under lockdown, with restrictions on the movement of people, leading to disruptions in logistical processes worldwide. As a result, express shipments, which had been a convenience until then, became an absolute necessity of daily life for everyone in the country.
It is significant that DHL Lietuva, a member of Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL), the world's largest logistics company, is the client and the first user of the building, as well as a well-known innovation leader with a strong focus on sustainability, which is of paramount importance for logistics in 2021," says Viktorija Orkinė, EAM CEO.
The express terminal meets the highest requirements of the international parcel company DPDHL and has been designed based on its best practices. The building will be adjacent to the territory of Vilnius Airport, which will allow for the prompt handling of air shipments. The 4,800 sqm building will comprise the administration and distribution parts of the parcel terminal, and there will be 12,000 sqm of parking.
Innovative technologies will be introduced in the new terminal not only for process efficiency but also for the well-being of employees. For example, the terminal will be equipped with a two-level distribution line that will process more than 3,600 packages per hour, which will speed up the process considerably and significantly reduce the amount of physical work for employees.
The EREF-managed DHL Lithuania project will significantly contribute to DPDHL's ambitious goal of becoming a climate-neutral business. Geothermal energy solutions will be used to meet the heating and cooling needs of the entire building. In addition, the specially treated glass will be used for the windows to ensure a comfortable working environment and to reduce energy consumption. The building will also be equipped with a state-of-the-art building management system (BMS).
Along with the opening of the new terminal, DHL Lietuva plans to take another decisive step towards sustainability: electric charging infrastructure will be created for the entire fleet of vans in Vilnius, thus gradually shifting to all-electric vehicles. DHL Lietuva employees will also have the opportunity to charge their electric vehicle batteries free of charge at the new terminal.
"We are delighted that the construction of the DHL Lithuania terminal and the company's investment in Vilnius Airport will ensure the successful development of the express parcel business in Lithuania. Furthermore, the automated parcel sorting system, the implemented process efficiency solutions and the focus on environmental aspects will not only enable DHL Lietuva to provide the highest quality of service to its customers in Lithuania. Still, it will also significantly contribute to DPDHL's commitment to business sustainability by reducing CO2 emissions in parcel transportation.
DHL has been globally recognised this year as the World's Best Workplace, and with our new investments, we do not intend to abandon this position. Employees will have a leisure area on the roof of the new office building where they can watch the planes taking off and landing, a gym and other spaces designed for efficient work and relaxation," says Mindaugas Pivoriūnas, CEO of DHL Lietuva.
This project is the result of successful cooperation. It will make a significant contribution to improving the cargo handling infrastructure at the country's largest airport. Marius Gelžinis, Director General of Lithuanian Airports, says: "We are delighted that the project is now being implemented with the support of our partners. Strengthening our position in the regional cargo sector is one of the strategic areas of development that will benefit not only our company but also the whole country."
In addition to the DHL Lietuva terminal, EREF's investment portfolio includes the Highway business centre and the Audi and Volkswagen car dealerships in Vilnius, the Tamro logistics centre in Kaunas, operated by BENU pharmacies, and a new logistics centre development project in the Kaunas FEZ. EREF is the second real estate fund managed by EAM investing in commercial real estate. EREF invests in classic commercial assets such as office buildings, shopping centres and logistics or light industrial facilities in the CEE region. The fund is designed for informed investors, and the EIKA Group's capital is also invested alongside external investors.