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DHL Express

"DHL" redirects here. For other uses, see DHL (disambiguation).
Deutsche Post AG
DHL Express
Industry Express Logistics
Founded 1969
Headquarters Bonn, Germany
Key people
Aron Fiedler (RBG Boost)[1]
Adrian Dalsey (co-founder)
Larry Hillblom (co-founder)
Robert Lynn (co-founder)
Products DHL Express Worldwide
DHL Express 9:00
DHL Express 12:00
Number of employees
Parent Deutsche Post

Express & Logistics.
We move the world
All the way
I'm on it!
First Choice

Excellence. Simply Delivered.

DHL Express[2] is a division of the German logistics company Deutsche Post DHL providing international express mail services. Deutsche Post is the world's largest logistics company operating around the world.[3] DHL is a world market leader in sea and air mail.[4][5]

Originally founded in 1969 to deliver documents between San Francisco and Honolulu, the company expanded its service throughout the world by the late 1970s. The company was primarily interested in offshore and inter-continental deliveries, but the success of FedEx prompted their own intra-U.S. expansion starting in 1983. DHL aggressively expanded to countries that could not be served by any other delivery service, including the Soviet Union, Eastern Bloc, Iraq, Iran, China, Vietnam and North Korea.

In 1998, Deutsche Post began to acquire shares in DHL. It finally reached majority ownership in 2001, and completed the purchase in 2002. Deutsche Post then effectively absorbed DHL into its Express division, while expanding the use of the DHL brand to other Deutsche Post divisions, business units and subsidiaries. Today, DHL Express shares its well-known DHL brand with other Deutsche Post business units, such as DHL Global Forwarding and DHL Supply Chain.



File:Logo DHL old.svg
Old DHL logo before its purchase by Deutsche Post AG

Larry Hillblom was studying law at University of California, Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law in the late 1960s and had little money. He started running courier duty between San Francisco and Los Angeles, picking up packages for the last flight of the day, and returning on the first flight the next morning, up to five times a week.

When he graduated, Hillblom decided to go into the courier business himself. He found a niche that no other company was filling, to fly bills of lading from San Francisco to Honolulu. By flying the documents ahead of the freight they could be processed prior to vessel arrival and save valuable time after arrival.

Hillblom put up a portion of his student loans to start the company, bringing in his two friends Adrian Dalsey and Robert Lynn as partners, with their combined initials of their last names as the company name (DHL). All three shared a Plymouth Duster that they drove around San Francisco to pick up the documents in suitcases, then rushed to the airport to book flights using another relatively new invention, the corporate credit card. As the business took off, they started hiring new couriers to join the company. Their first hires were Max and Blanche Kroll, whose apartment in Hawaii often became a makeshift flophouse for their couriers.

The company started expanding their service through the early 1970s, first to the Philippines, then Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. For lower-volume routes the company hired couriers on a one-off basis, trading airline tickets for the delivery. This simple expedient repeatedly saved the company many legal hassles in the future, when would-be investigators took them up on the open offer and make a delivery while taking their family on vacation. The first was when the FBI was tipped off about the groups of briefcase-carrying young men making repeated trips to Hawaii, and when they investigated and found nothing amiss, several agents became regular couriers for the company.[citation needed]

Domestic expansion

In the 1970s DHL was one of the only truly international delivery companies, and the only one offering overnight service. The only major competitor in the overnight market was Federal Express (FedEx), which did not open its first international service until 1981, expanding to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Nevertheless, the domestic market was extremely profitable, and DHL was the third largest courier behind FedEx and the UPS.

Deutsche Post purchase

Deutsche Post began to acquire shares in DHL in 1998, finally reaching majority ownership in 2001. Following the completion of the purchase in 2002, Deutsche Post effectively absorbed DHL into its Express division, while expanding the use of the DHL brand to other Deutsche Post divisions, business units and subsidiaries. Today, DHL Express shares its well-known DHL brand with other Deutsche Post business units, such as DHL Global Forwarding, DHL Freight, DHL Supply Chain, and DHL Global Mail.

File:DHL subsidiary on Deutsche Post premises Steinfurt.jpg
Traditional DHL subsidiary in Steinfurt (Germany) sharing premises and logistics with Deutsche Post
DHL boat in Amsterdam, carrying DHL delivery bicycles on board.
DHL advertising on the Tren de la Costa light railway, Buenos Aires
DHL semitrailer truck

All US domestic flights were handled by DHL Airways, Inc. which in 2003 was renamed ASTAR Air Cargo. DHL's first airline still remains with over 550 pilots in service, as of October 2008.[6]

  • 2001: Deutsche Post acquires a majority (51%) of DHL's shares, and the remaining 49% in 2002. The new DHL is launched by merging the old DHL, Danzas and Securicor Omega Euro Express.
  • 2001: The Packstation, an automated delivery booth, is introduced as a pilot project in Dortmund and Mainz.
  • 2002: Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937, a Tupolev Tu-154 passenger jet, collides with DHL Flight 611, a Boeing 757-200 cargo jet, at Script error: No such module "convert". over Überlingen, Germany. The 69 people aboard the Tupolev (consisting mainly of Russian schoolchildren) and the two pilots of the Boeing were killed.[7]
  • December 2002: Introduces red and yellow new color scheme and logo.
  • August 2003: Deutsche Post acquires Airborne Express, and begins to integrate it into DHL. The Airborne Express Airline named ABX Air is to provide contract ACMI service until 2011.
  • 22 November 2003: DHL shootdown incident in Baghdad: Iraqi insurgents fire an SA-7 "Grail" surface-to-air missile at a European Air Transport Airbus A300 operating on behalf of DHL. The aircraft takes off from Baghdad airport and the missile strikes the left wing, disabling all three hydraulic systems and setting the wing on fire. The aircraft begins a dangerous phugoid (vertical oscillation) but the crew manages to land safely at the airport despite only being able to control the aircraft by adjusting the engine thrust.[8]
  • September 2004: a planned expansion by DHL at Brussels International Airport creates a political crisis in Belgium.[9]
  • 21 October 2004: DHL Express announces that it will move its European hub from Brussels to Leipzig, Germany (Vatry, France was considered and rejected). DHL's unions call a strike in response, paralyzing work for a day.
  • 8 November 2004: DHL Express invests €120 million in Indian domestic courier Blue Dart and becomes the majority shareholder in the company.[10]
  • September 2005: Deutsche Post makes an offer to buy contract logistics company Exel plc, which had just acquired Tibbett & Britten Group.
  • On 14 December 2005, Deutsche Post announces the completion of the acquisition of Exel plc. When integrating Exel into its Logistics division, it adds its well-known DHL brand acquired with the purchase of DHL Express to form the name DHL Exel Supply Chain. Following the latest deal, DHL has a global workforce of 285,000 people (500,000 people including DPWN and other sister companies) and roughly $65 billion in annual sales.
  • September 2006: DHL wins ten-year contract worth £1.6 billion, to run the NHS Supply Chain (part of the UK's National Health Service). DHL will be responsible for providing logistics services for over 500,000 products to support 600 hospitals and other health providers in the United Kingdom. As part of this new contract, in 2008 DHL will open a new Script error: No such module "convert". distribution centre to act as a stock holding hub for food and other products, with another distribution centre opening in 2012. The two new distribution centres will create around 1,000 new jobs.[11]
  • September 2007: DHL Express co-founds new cargo airline AeroLogic, based at Leipzig/Halle Airport, in a 50:50 joint venture with Lufthansa Cargo. The carrier will operate up to 11 Boeing 777Fs by 2012.[12]
  • December 2007: DHL becomes the first ever carrier to transport cargo via wind powered ships flying MS Beluga Skysails kites.
  • May 2008: DHL Aviation moves its central depot to Leipzig; Germany, resulting in a significant positioning for improved service and timeliness to the European Union.
  • 28 May 2008: DHL Express announces the restructuring plans for its United States network, including terminating its business relationship with ABX Air and entering into a contract with competitor UPS for air freight operations.[13] Its cargo hub shifts from Wilmington to Louisville.[14][15] The Air Line Pilots Association, International protests.[16] See also: Wilmington, Ohio
  • October 2008: Two DHL Express Middle East senior executives, David Giles and Jason Bresler, are assassinated in Kabul, by one of their own Afghan employees; they receive military honors by the U.S. military, the first of such kind in Afghanistan.[17]
  • 10 November 2008: DHL announces that it is cutting 9,500 jobs as it discontinues domestic air and ground operations within the United States to deal with economic uncertainty. It is retaining international services, and is still in talks with UPS to transport DHL packages between U.S. airports.[18]
DHL G-BIKC: ex British Airways Boeing 757, converted to cargo type in 2001 - Landing at Madrid Airport (Spain) - Old DHL color scheme and logo .
  • N785AX, a Boeing 767-200 with DHL livery, operated by ABX Air, departs Portland International Airport (KPDX) runway 28R.
  • 30 January 2009: DHL ends domestic pick up and delivery service in the United States, effectively leaving UPS and FedEx as the two major express parcel delivery companies in the United States[19] Limited domestic service is still available from DHL, provided that the packages are tendered to USPS for local delivery. NewEgg is one such company that uses this option as of May 10, 2011.
  • April 2009: UPS announces that DHL and UPS have ended negotiations for an agreement for UPS to provide airlift for DHL packages between airports in North America. DHL says in a statement, "We have not been able to come to a conclusive agreement that is acceptable to both parties." DHL continues to use its current air cargo providers, ASTAR Air Cargo and ABX Air for now.[20]
  • On 18 March 2010: a DHL Antonov An-26 aircraft makes an emergency landing on the frozen Lake Ülemiste, close to Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport. Initial reports indicate problems with the landing gear and one of the engines. The flight is operated by Exin on behalf of DHL. The aircraft involved is SP-FDO and the flight departed from Helsinki Airport. Two of the six crew members are injured.
  • June 13, 2013 in Erlanger, Kentucky, USA – Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear joined DHL and local officials to unveil the company’s newly expanded and upgraded global hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). DHL Express, a division of leading global logistics company DHL, has invested $105 million over the past four years to enhance infrastructure and add state-of-the-art sorting capabilities to meet increasing demand. The expansion includes a new 180,000-square-foot sorting facility specifically designed to accommodate larger express shipments, an expanded south ramp for additional wide-body aircraft, an employee and pilot building, and a facility-wide information technology upgrade. The expanded global hub sits at the heart of the DHL U.S. network, with flights connecting customers from more than 220 countries and territories worldwide to every corner of the United States. In addition to global hubs in Hong Kong and Germany, the CVG hub completes the backbone of the DHL intercontinental network.[21]
  • DHL shapes up its ocean freight technology with "Ocean Secure". Customers can choose between container tracking along key milestones, monitoring of any opening of the container, or of temperature and humidity in the container leveraging the DHL SmartSensor GSM technology as well as real-time and in-transit information for all container parameters from remote areas and at sea through satellite transmission.[22]


DHL Express's global headquarters are part of the Deutsche Post headquarters in Bonn.

Headquarters for the Americas are located in Plantation, Florida, USA, while its Asia-Pacific and Emerging Markets headquarters are located in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China. The European hub is in Leipzig, Germany.

Most of DHL Express' business is incorporated as DHL International GmbH.

Major competitors include FedEx, UPS, TOLL, TNT and national post carriers such as United States Postal Service and Royal Mail. However, DHL has a minor partnership with the USPS, which allows DHL to deliver small packages to the recipient through the USPS network known as DHL Global Mail. It is also the sole provider for transferring USPS mail in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

DHL offers worldwide services, including deliveries to countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Myanmar (formerly called Burma). As it is German-owned, DHL is not affected by U.S. embargoes or sanctions and will ship to Cuba[23] and North Korea.[24][25] However there are strict codes for delivering to North Korea, as the country has shaky relations with the West.[24]

As DHL is not a US company, it is not allowed to make domestic flights between U.S. airports. DHL contracts these services to other providers.[18]

Environmental record

Measures have been taken to physically control the amount of polluting by use of the alternative fuel examples. DHL changed vehicles in certain delivery fleets in accordance to their use of newer fuel ideas. The fuel was switched to compressed natural gas which they hope to accomplish with 50% of their vans.[26]

On 16 September 2005, DHL won a High Court injunction establishing an exclusion zone around each of its 288 buildings in the UK as well as the homes of its 18,000 UK employees. The firm has been the subject of a campaign of intimidation because of their business with Huntingdon Life Sciences. The judge banned protesters from coming within Script error: No such module "convert". of any DHL premises or the homes of their employees as well as any organized demonstration within Script error: No such module "convert". unless the police had been given four hours' notice. The injunction also protects anyone doing business with DHL from intimidation.[27]

DHL aviation

Main article: DHL Aviation

Deutsche Post owns five airline subsidiaries operating for DHL Express, operating a total of 96 aircraft and another 21 aircraft on orders, which are collectively referred to as DHL Aviation:


For several years, DHL was the primary sponsor of the Porsche RS Spyder Le Mans Prototypes in the IMSA American Le Mans Series. DHL also sponsors Ryan Hunter-Reay's #28 IndyCar Series car for Andretti Autosport since 2011. With DHL, Hunter-Reay won the championship for the 2012 IndyCar Series season as well as the 2014 Indianapolis 500. Manchester United Football Club announced them as their first training kit sponsor in August 2011, agreeing a four-year deal with DHL reported to be worth £40 million; it is believed to be the first instance of training kit sponsorship in English football.[28][29] In 2014, FC Bayern Munich agreed a six-year sponsorship deal with DHL.[30]

DHL were the main title sponsor of the Jordan Formula One team during 2002.

File:Jordan GP 2002.jpg
A Jordan Grand Prix Formula One car at the US Grand Prix at the Indianapolis track.

DHL is a major sponsor of Surf Life Saving Australia.

DHL is the current title sponsor of the South African Western Cape based Rugby Union teams Western Province and the Stormers. This is came into effect on 1 January 2011 for a period of three years.[31]

For the 2011-2012 Volvooceanrace DHL is one of four race partners providing logistics for this worldwide event.[32][33]

In 2012, the company became the main sponsor of League of Ireland club Bohemian F.C.[34]

In 2014, the company is sponsoring, with IMG Fashion, DHL Exported, which is aimed at "assisting designers who are already successful locally to gain momentum internationally."[35] DHL Exported will "sponsor a chosen designer for two consecutive seasons at" the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, London Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week or Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo.[35] IMG Fashion "will accept applications from February 17 through April 2 at"[35]

See also


  1. ^ "Deutsche Post DHL - Ken Allen". 
  2. ^ "DHL" stands for Dalsey, Hillblom & Lynn, the surnames of the founders.
  3. ^ DHL/DPAG. "DHL Divisions". Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  4. ^ "Deutsche Post DHL: Kunde statt Chaos - manager magazin - Unternehmen". manager magazin. 22 July 2010. 
  5. ^ "Top 10 Unternehmen". 12 June 2013. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Skyguide. "Information regarding the air accident". Retrieved 2007-01-18. 
  8. ^ Flight Safety. "DHL". Archived from the original on May 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  9. ^ "DHL expansion controversy leads to strike". 2004-10-27. Retrieved 2014-03-14. 
  10. ^ DHL. "DHL Global Press Release". Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  11. ^ DHL. "DHL UK press release". Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  12. ^ Flight Global (2008-01-28). "AeroLogic outlines launch and expansion plans". Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  13. ^ DHL. "DHL to restructure U.S. express business". Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  14. ^ "UPS CEO says DHL deal could change". Cincinnati Business Courier. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "ALPA Calls Upon Congress to Hold New Hearings on DHL-UPS Deal". Reuters. 2008-10-23. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  17. ^ "". 
  18. ^ a b Aaron Smith (2008-11-10). "DHL cuts 9,500 U.S. jobs". CNN. Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ CNBC. "UPS, DHL Scrap Airlift Agreement Talks". Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  21. ^ "Gov. Beshear Participates in Ribbon-Cutting for DHL’s Global Hub in Northern Kentucky". 
  22. ^ "DHL - Press Release - English". 
  23. ^ DHL. "Cuba". Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  24. ^ a b DHL. "Korea". Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  25. ^ Jong, Hwa Sun (May 12, 2012). "DHL office works well in Pyongyang". Pyongyang times (George Washington University). 
  26. ^ "DHL Makes CNG Alternative Fuel of Choice in UAE". 24 March 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  27. ^ "DHL obtains court injunction". Victims of Animal Rights Extremism. Archived from the original on 2008-12-27. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  28. ^ "DHL delivers new shirt deal". (Manchester United). 22 August 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  29. ^ "Manchester United unveils two new commercial deals". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 22 August 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  30. ^ "FCB and DHL announce partnership - FC Bayern München AG". FC Bayern München AG. 
  31. ^ "DHL new sponsor for WP/ Stormers Rugby". The Stormers. Retrieved 2014-03-14. 
  32. ^ Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 | DHL
  33. ^ And AFC Champions league Official Timming and Logistics Partner
  34. ^ "Bohs agree sponsorship deal with DHL - - League of Ireland". 
  35. ^ a b c Lockwood, Lisa (5 February 2014). "DHL, IMG Fashion Launch Program to Boost Designers". WWD. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 

External links