July 13 2009 04:37 PM

Four years after opening the most technologically advanced air package sorting hub in the world, UPS began a dramatic $1 billion expansion in 2006 that will increase sorting capacity by approximately 37% to 416,000 packages per hour. Demand for additional hub capacity has been driven by strong growth in international and domestic express business. 

The expansion plan for Worldport, the sophisticated mega hub at the heart of the company's global transportation network, will add two new aircraft load/unload "wings" to the hub and associated aircraft staging ramps. 

With the phase 1 and 2 expansions currently scheduled for completion by May 2010, the facility will continue to feature the latest in technology and state-of-the-art equipment.

In addition, UPS has approved a new vehicle loading facility for the ground delivery network that serves Louisville. 

Facts and Figures
• The expansion project is expected to cost just under $1 billion.
• The phased project will be complete by June 2010, with the first operational phase opening in August 2009.
• The construction will increase Worldport's footprint by 1.2 million square feet under roof to 5.2 million square feet or the equivalent of 90 football fields.
• Additional employment opportunities throughout the commonwealth will generate an economic impact well beyond the $600 million anticipated in construction costs.
• Continued support for the hugely successful Metropolitan College will play a major role in helping attract and maintain employees for the expanded hub. 
• UPS•s Supplier Diversity program has exceeded its commitment to award 20 percent of the general construction contracts for the expansion to minority and women owned businesses. 


UPS undertook the largest capital project in the company's history with the expansion of its sort facility at Louisville International Airport. The expansion more than doubled the size of the air hub and increased sort capacity from 215,000 packages per hour to 304,000. Dubbed Worldport, the facility grew from about 2 million square feet to 4 million. The facility's design allows for expansion to process up to a half million packages per hour. UPS announced plans for another expansion that will increase Worldport's sort capacity by 37% from 304,000 packages per hour to 416,000, and will add more than 1 million square feet to the mammoth air hub's infrastructure. 

Worldport is the largest fully automated package handling facility in the world. The operation currently turns over 130 aircraft daily, processing an average of 1.2 million packages a day with a record 2.5 million packages processed on Peak Day. 

Louisville Air Hub History

September 1982 UPS Next Day Air® service initiated

April 1999 Expansion of Louisville air hub begins, driven by strong growth in international and domestic express business; the project is dubbed Hub 2000.

September 2000 The first of three phases of the expansion opens, increasing sort capacity by 30,000 packages per hour. New automated processes and education programs help to lower employee turnover and retraining costs while increasing overall productivity.

July 2001 Second phase opens, adding another 30,000 packages per hour to the facility's sort capacity.

September 2002 The third and final phase opens, increasing sort capacity by 29,000 packages per hour.

May 2006 UPS announces plans for a new expansion that will increase Worldport's sort capacity by 37% — to 416,000 packages per hour. Phases 1 and 2 of the expansion are scheduled for completion by June 2010.

Worldport Features

• High-speed conveyors and "smart labels•bCrLf read by overhead cameras facilitate the processing of documents, small packages and irregular-sized shipments.
• Automated equipment and overall process improvements reduce the amount of time employees spend lifting and lowering packages while reducing the average package cycle-sorting span.
• Newly developed IT systems rapidly transmit Customs information to expedite the movement of international shipments.
• Specially designed docks and hub floors let workers move package containers easily from one area of the building to another.
• The new expansion plans include two new aircraft load/unload "wings•bCrLf and associated aircraft staging ramps. Additional ramp space will accommodate the new 747-400 cargo planes.
• UPS also approved plans to build a new vehicle loading facility for its ground delivery network serving Louisville.
• Like the initial Worldport expansion, UPS exceeded its goal to award at least 20% of the latest expansion project's general construction and site work budget to minority- and women-owned businesses. 
• Metropolitan College will continue to play a major role in helping attract and maintain employees for the expanded hub.