DHL Deal Will Receive Closer Scrutiny
By Congressman Michael Turner
The proposed deal between DHL and UPS that could result in huge job losses at the Wilmington airpark has been of great concern to people across Southwest Ohio. Leaders from the local, state, and federal level have worked together to prepare the best possible response for our community. In addition to contributing to these efforts, my colleagues and I in the Ohio Delegation pushed for congressional hearings on the deal. We recently received the outstanding news that the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the House Judiciary Committee have agreed to hold hearings. The governor, the state house and state senate, both presidential candidates, and the White House have all expressed deep concern about the possible consequences of this deal.
When DHL announced their possible deal to consolidate their North American shipping operations with UPS, it soon became clear that the deal would have an extremely significant impact on our region’s local economy and cause the loss of as many as 8,000 local jobs. While this would be devastating for our region, it was apparent that the deal had consequences and implications beyond Southwest Ohio. If DHL was allowed to form a de facto merger with UPS, it would leave them and FedEx as the only two shipping operations in the North American market. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will investigate this issue and ask the people directly responsible at DHL and UPS to explain the possible consequences of this deal.
Additionally, many people have expressed concerns that the deal between DHL and UPS could have antitrust implications. These concerns will be thoroughly examined by the House Judiciary Committee, who will ask questions about the steps leading up to the deal. This would obviously have an adverse affect on businesses, consumers, and families trying to ship products and would have the affect of creating a duopoly in the shipping market. Additionally, I recently spoke to Germany’s Ambassador about the deal and I expressed my concern to him that the deal could have antitrust implications in the European markets.
During the hearings, I will work with the committee to get as much information as possible but also make clear to the committee members just how serious the possible deal is for our economy. According to a report compiled by the Wilmington/DHL Economic Response Task Force, over 45 of Ohio’s 88 counties have at least one person employed at the airpark in Wilmington. For over six counties in our state, including Clinton and Highland Counties, the airpark serves as their largest overall employer.
Our state and our region have invested considerable time and significant resources into DHL based on promises they made when they moved into the Wilmington airpark. The news of this proposed deal has been devastating to our community and has left us with many unanswered questions. Unfortunately, DHL and UPS have been less than forthcoming in answering these questions. These hearings represent a real opportunity for our community, its workers, and their families to get the straight facts they deserve.