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FedEx to turn Milan’s Malpensa into its third largest European hub

by Marco Morino

The Americans are betting on Italy and Milan’s Malpensa airport. FedEx, the world's biggest express delivery group, has started work on a new operational base in the heart of Northern Italy's most important airport.

With more than 35,000 square feet, the new structure will triple the company's existing facility at the site and become its third-largest hub in Europe after Paris and Cologne, shipping merchandise to and from Italy.

The new structure, within Malpensa's Cargo City, will be done in a year and require a €15 million investment by SEA, the group that manages Malpensa.

“We are here because we want to help the growth of Made In Italy,” said Alain Chaillé, vice president of southern european operations for FedEx. “We are here because we think that Italy is a great export nation, and that Lombardy, in particular, is a region that has a vocation for high-quality goods. That's why we decided to triple our presence at Malpensa.”

FedEx is Malpensa's fourth biggest client for overall shipping and the biggest with the US thanks to the direct flight Milan, Malpensa-Memphis. It's the only direct flight that can guarantee the fastest travel time from Northern Italy to the US.

The expansion of Cargo City, which includes the FedEx warehouse, will allow it to double its transportation capacity. Some 500,000 tons of goods pass through Malpensa each year and thanks to new investment, within a few years, Malpensa will have annual capacity of almost 1 million tons.

It's already the biggest cargo airport in Italy, with a market share of 50% of total traffic.

Vito Bernardi, FedEx’s managing director for properties, said the location is directly connected with “our other 35 sites across Italy. We have operated here as the only express shipping company since 1994. With this deal, FedEx is growing. It shows just how much we believe in the potential of future development of an airport that continues to invest heavily in cargo deliveries.”

With the new structure— Fedex will be able to manage 20,000 packages a day, versus the current 16,000. There will be 44 flights to and from Milan, with 480 weekly connections. It will also have a fleet of 27 trucks to pick up and deliver packages. Two hundred people from the FedEx team will work together in the new space.