DHL Express is to invest £156m in increasing capacity at its UK hubs and depots following double-digit growth in the past four years.

The express parcel carrier revealed it will have completed major redevelopments at its Heathrow and East Midlands airport hubs by mid-2016, as well as upgrading many of its depots nationwide.

UK and Ireland chief executive Phil Couchman said the company plans to double the size of its East Midlands hub, which will receive a £90m share of the investment, as it moves into a “strong tactical position” .

Couchman said that once the site has been redeveloped, it could potentially process “half a million shipments a night if we wanted to” by fully automating the site. The East Midlands hub handles 130,000 parcels into and out of the UK each night and 160,000 at peak times.

It is also developing a 400-seat call centre, which will be consolidated into the same building as its couriers. Couchman said this would improve the service it provides to its customers from the site.

DHL also plans to relocate its southern hub from Heathrow to a larger site, which Couchman said will likely be in the Colnbrook, Berkshire, area.

It wants to boost capacity at the new southern hub by increasing the number of loading doors from 12 to 78. As with the East Midlands site, DHL also wants this site to be fully automated and will eliminate the use of forklift trucks.

The firm also revealed plans to put in more aircraft and vehicles at its Manchester service centre to provide later cut-off times for customers in Sheffield and Liverpool in particular.

In the past three years, DHL Express has revamped 10 depots, including Oxford, Telford, Maidstone and Park Royal in London, with plans to upgrade Croydon and Lambeth next.

Couchman also revealed that DHL Express has a 51% market share across the globe compared with other integrators – carriers that have both an air and ground network.

“We didn’t get there without a focus on customer touch points,” said Couchman.

Last autumn DHL provided an update on its service centre upgrade plan.