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UPS Air Hub (final spots/days)

Friday 29 June | 17h30 - 03h00
Cologne Bonn Airport
, Köln, Germany

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Additional Information

Coach pick-up point:
Place Schuman, Leuven E40 - Texaco Service Station
trip by 4* coach, bottled water, guided bus tour, guided tour, lecture, drinks
Coach drop-off point:
Place Schuman, Merode, Montgomery, Diamant
Child ticket available:
Please contact us, Min. age 16 years
Min. age 16 years - Registration deadline 2 weeks in advance.


Only 18 Expat Club members get the unique chance to participate in one of Europe’s most sought-after and most exclusive industrial visits. At Köln-Bonn Airport, Germany’s 7th largest passenger airport and 2nd largest cargo airport, we visit the ultramodern and super large sorting facilities of UPS. This is the fourth time we go here after our first visit in the middle of the summer in 2014 and spring 2015. This 3-hours visit visit is nothing less than impressive.

The United Parcel Service is a truly global company that is active in 220 countries and regions of the world, which delivers over 10 million packages every single day and serves over 6.1 million customers. Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS employes 425,000 people worldwide, has annual revenues totalling over $54 billion, flies its own fleet of over 200 aircraft and thousands of trucks and vans. It leaves its major shipping competitors far behind, including DHL Express, FedEx, the United States Postal Services and TNT N.V.  It’s one of the world’s most admired companies, and also one of its most recognised brands with their typical UPS vans in the recognisable “Pullman brown” color, the brown-gold logo and of course the UPS envelopes. This is nothing but a world-class company!

The company’s main operations take place at the UPS Worldport® in Louisville, Kentucky. Its Asian hub is in Shenzhen (China) and in Europe UPS runs the continent’s most advanced and largest package sorting facility at Köln-Bonn Airport. It’s size is mind-boggling.

With over 75.000 square meters, the size of about 15 football fields, this complex can process a staggering 190.000 shipments per hour. Over 35 UPS planes and 200 trucks and vans arrive every single night to deliver envelopes, packages and other parcels from all over Europe and every other continent. And each of them leaves the facility again only a few hours later, but now in another truck or another plane. The logistic intelligence and industrial infrastructure behind these operations is truly remarkable and simply fascinating. The below video may give you a first idea of what you can expect during this visit (sorry, in German only, but you get the picture. The tour is in English though!).

We leave Brussels in the late afternoon / early evening by luxury coach. It takes about 2h15 to travel to Cologne Bonn Airport. Along the way we have diner together (not included) and only at 21h30 we are expected at the UPS Welcome Center. You may ask why this late? Well, the answer is easy…  there is simply nothing going on during the day as shipments come in only late at night. After all, you also would like to receive your package at 10am instead of 10pm, wouldn’t you?

Our excursion consists of three parts: (1) a comprehensive company presentation, (2) a walk through the package sorting facility and (3) an airport ramp tour by bus, including a visit to the UPS aircraft operations. This is indeed very special and ultra cool! For security and organisational reasons the size of our group cannot exceed 18 people (+ your Expat Club host). This group size enables us to interact with our guide, to see all the running belts and sorting systems from up and close and to witness the smooth running operations of the arrival and unloading of all the planes and trucks. The entire visit lasts about 3 hours and ends around 00h30. This means we return to Brussels only at 03h00 in the morning. Luckily it’s Saturday when you wake up again.

Procedures: Since we enter the airport grounds we have to go through security, both during the visit and upon registration. UPS and Cologne-Bonn Airport require personal data from all participants. This data will be stored securely and only be shared with Brussels Airport and their security partners. For each participant we require the following:

1. First name as in passport
2. Last name as in passport
3. Date of birth
4. Place of birth
5. Nationality
6. Passport number*
7. Expiry date passport*
8. Full address (street + number, postal code, city, country)
9. Mobile phone number

* You may also use the details of your national ID-card that is valid for EU travel.

During the registration process you can indicate this data. Please clearly separate all data for each participant and first give all data for the first person, and then the second, etc. You can also first book the tickets and subsequently send an email with all data to info@expatclub.org at your earliest convenience, but absolutely before 22 June noon. If you do not submit the data or the correct data before the deadline you may not be able to join the tour. Note that the minimum age is 16 years at the time of visit.

© All pictures by UPS

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