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DHL Deep Dive – What is DHL?

Originally published on August 15, 2023 by Erhan Musaoglu, Updated on October 24, 2023

The question ‘what is DHL’ is typically answered in one of two ways: Either a) it’s a major shipping company, or b) it’s a logistics provider. The truth is, DHL is both and more. Among today’s top logistics enterprises, DHL stands out as one of the most competitive for express global and domestic shipping capabilities (including courier, parcel and express mail services), freight transportation, and supply chain solutions.

Since its beginning in San Francisco, 1969, DHL has expanded and evolved with five major divisions, each with its own subcategories of services and solutions. In this blog, we will talk through each of those divisions, how they serve global supply chains, and how Logiwa integrates operations with them to aid high-volume DTC operations.

Key Takeaways

  • DHL Group includes DHL and Deutsche Post, and can be broken down into five major divisions: DHL Express, DHL Global Forwarding/DHL Freight, DHL Supply Chain, DHL Ecommerce, and Post & Parcel Germany.
  • DHL Express, which deals primarily with international, expedited shipping, and DHL Ecommerce, which focuses on economical parcel delivery for online merchants, both utilize optimized distribution networks, custom clearance, and accurate tracking.
  • DHL Global Forwarding manages customizable international air, ocean and overland freight forwarding for different market sectors, including multimodal and industry-specific options.
  • DHL’s Supply Chain division offers different logistics services, including warehousing, transportation, and value-added services related to ecommerce fulfillment, logistics management, and packaging solutions.
  • DHL’s Integration Solutions include online web services and APIs that can be integrated directly with websites, applications, order processing systems, and warehouse management technology.

What is DHL Group?

Although American-founded, DHL is actually a subsidiary of DHL Group, a German logistics company comprising two brands: DHL (which offers a range of domestic and international mailing services, freight transport, supply chain management assistance, and ecommerce logistics solutions) and Deutsche Post, Europe’s leading postal and parcel service provider. DHL Group describes itself as the world’s leading mail and logistics company. According to its website, DHL Group employs more than 600,000 shipping professionals, provides service to more than 220 countries and districts, and delivers well over one billion parcels each year.

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Key Divisions of DHL Group

Despite being the umbrella parent of multiple companies, DHL Group has connected its five primary divisions in order to support global supply chains and meet the needs of its customers. This includes DHL ‘sibling’ companies: DHL Express, DHL Global Forwarding/DHL Freight, DHL Supply Chain, DHL Ecommerce, and Post & Parcel Germany. In today’s article, we’re going to focus on the first four.

What is DHL Express?

DHL Express is aimed at providing expedited international shipping services, although it does offer domestic services as well. This division executes pick up and delivery of documents, parcels and other goods around the globe using its scheduled Express network. Its high-efficiency network consists of 320 dedicated aircraft and a team of 4,800 custom experts, who help ensure shipments are cleared quickly through international borders and delivered on time.

Whether you need door-to-door service, face non-negotiable delivery windows, or need industry-specific handling (i.g. life sciences and healthcare-related items) – DHL Express is up to the challenge. It is ideal for businesses that regularly ship across international borders, face time constraints, and need to be able to closely track their goods-in-transit. Some additional services under this division, including DHL Jetline, DHL Secureline, and DHL Same Day courier service for particularly time-sensitive cases.

What is DHL Ecommerce?

DHL Ecommerce also offers both domestic and international services, but is primarily focused on executing last-mile, standard parcel delivery on a domestic level for ecommerce merchants. It supports high-volume fulfillment with end-to-end shipping capabilities and quality control efforts, as well as more flexibility in terms of rates and tiers of service than other express carrier options.

With DHL Ecommerce, packages are picked up, sorted and processed at one of DHL’s strategically located distribution centers before being transferred to another service for last-mile delivery (i.g. USPS handles DHL Ecommerce’s last-mile delivery needs within the US). Some of the advantages of DHL Ecommerce include the efficiency afforded by its far-reaching distribution network, its streamlining effect on fulfillment operations, and its ability to minimize transit times for shipments and returns while still providing affordable pricing.

What is DHL Global Forwarding and Freight?

DHL Global Forwarding manages international air, ocean and overland freight forwarding for different market sectors. This includes multimodal and industry-specific options to address a wide variety of clients’ needs and assist effectively with global projects. DHL Global collaborates with the other divisions and partners within their network to map out the best journey for freights on a case-by-case basis.

DHL Freight, which focuses on optimizing international delivery as well, specializes in road freight, rail freight, customs, transport and integrated solutions outside the US. These transport services work directly with businesses to offer end-to-end tracking, customized approaches for oversized and heavy cargo, insurance, and competitive quality management.

What is DHL Supply Chain?

DHL’s Supply Chain division oversees a variety of logistics services and solutions geared towards both large and small supply chains. This includes warehousing, transportation, and value-added services related to ecommerce fulfillment, logistics management, and packaging solutions for a multitude of industry categories. DHL considers this to be one of their most innovative departments due to its focus on new technologies. Their tailorable services span from automation and digitalization to optimized warehouse storage and packing for major supply chain operations.

What is DHL Shipping Integration?

DHL’s Integration Solutions include online web services and APIs that can be integrated directly with businesses’ websites, customer service applications, order processing systems, and warehouse management technology. This helps to streamline data related to DHL service availability, transit times, shippings rates, pickup booking options, shipment tracking, and more.

Logiwa’s cloud WMS and fulfillment solution seamlessly integrates with major shipping logistics providers like DHL. Learn more by visiting our integration pages for ecommerce, shipping, accounting, and robotics integrations at: https://www.logiwa.com/integrations.

FAQs Related to ‘What is DHL?’

What is DHL delivery service?

DHL is a global mail and logistics company that oversees both international and domestic shipping and supply chain management for a variety of industries. As a part of DHL Group, DHL offers a range of mailing services, freight transport, supply chain management assistance, and ecommerce logistics solutions. Its primary divisions include: DHL Express, DHL Global Forwarding, DHL Supply Chain, and DHL Ecommerce.

What are the primary differences between DHL Express and DHL Ecommerce?

DHL Ecommerce offers a flexible and affordable option for businesses needing to ship lightweight items domestically and internationally. It provides an economical option with reliable transit times and expedited custom clearance. DHL Express, on the other hand, is aimed at accelerated delivery options – whether international or domestic. It also uses expedited customs clearance, but is known for its end-to-end tracking options and execution of rapid, time-sensitive deliveries.

What is DHL Globalmail?

DHL Globalmail, which is offered by both Deutsche Post and DHL Express, allows businesses to bulk-ship multiple small packages to international recipients and track them. As a priority mail service, it offers fast and reliable delivery using DHL Group’s international mail network. Delivery in the country of the final destination is carried out by the national postal service provider.

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