What Are UPS Air Hubs?

Written by roger hamburg
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What Are UPS Air Hubs?
Large international air hubs make fast UPS shipments possible. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

UPS ships nearly 13 million packages and documents every day. While a large volume of those shipments go via ground on UPS' tractor-trailers, high priority packages and international shipments (about 2.2 million per day) make part of the journey via one of its more than 250 jet aircraft. To assist in rapid distribution, UPS has an intricate system of hubs around the world to serve its large fleet of cargo aircraft.

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Louisville, Kentucky is by far the largest international air hub for UPS. Located at the Louisville International Airport, the UPS facility is named "Worldport" and handles an average of 1.5 million packages and 130 aircraft a day. Louisville is the centre of the UPS air network, with the ability to serve up to 70 aircraft at any time. The fully automated package handling facility allows for easy package processing onto outbound UPS flights.

North American Hubs

Other than its major hub in Louisville, UPS also maintains smaller North American hubs in Columbia, South Carolina; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Rockford, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Hartford, Connecticut; Ontario, California; and Miami, Florida. UPS also operates a Canadian hub in Hamilton, Ontario.

International Hubs

While UPS is based in the U.S., it delivers packages around the world through its network. UPS has a strong presence in Asia, with three hubs in China -- Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Shanghai -- and others in Taipei, Taiwan; Singapore and the Philippines. In Europe, UPS operates a significant hub in Cologne/Bonn, Germany.

Size of Operation

From its hubs, UPS operates flights to various outlying cities. Smaller cities are also served by smaller aircraft via UPS subcontracted air service. UPS' European operation has service to 57 countries and nearly 300 daily flights. From its Asian hubs, it serves 40 countries and more than 300 daily flights. UPS' worldwide presence is possible thanks to its hubs located on multiple continents, and it serves South America, Africa and the Middle East via its air hubs in Europe and North America.

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