DHL (Dalsey, Hillblom and Lynn) International GmbH is an international courier, parcel, and express mail service which is a division of the German logistics company Deutsche Post DHL. Deutsche Post DHL is the world's largest logistics company,[3] now in over 220 countries and territories worldwide, particularly in sea and air mail.[4][5] The company delivers over 1.3 billion parcels per year.[2]

IndustryExpress logistics
PredecessorAirborne Express 
FoundedSan Francisco, CA
(1969 (1969))
Adrian Dalsey
Larry Hillblom
Robert Lynn
HeadquartersBonn, Germany
Key people
Ken Allen (Chairman)[1]
ProductsDHL Express Worldwide
DHL Express 9:00
DHL Express 12:00
Number of employees
> 360,000[2]
ParentDeutsche Post

The company was founded in the United States in 1969 and expanded its service throughout the world by the late 1970s. The company was primarily interested in offshore and intercontinental deliveries, but the success of FedEx prompted their own intra-US expansion starting in 1983.

In 1998, Deutsche Post began to acquire shares in DHL. It reached controlling interest in 2001, and acquired all outstanding shares by December 2002.[6] The company then 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 DHL brand with business units such as DHL Global Forwarding and DHL Supply Chain.[7] It gained a foothold in the United States when it acquired Airborne Express.

The DHL Express financial results are published in the Deutsche Post AG annual report.[7] In 2016, this division's revenue increased by 2.7% to €14 billion.[8] The earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased by 11.3% over 2015 to €1.5 billion.[9]



While Larry Hillblom was studying law at University of California, Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law in the late 1960s, he accepted a job as a courier for the insurance company Michael's, Poe & Associates (MPA). He started running courier duty between Oakland International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport, 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.[10]:12

After he graduated, Hillblom met with MPA salesman Adrian Dalsey and they planned to expand MPA's concept of fast delivery to other business enterprises. They flew between Honolulu and Los Angeles, transporting bills of lading for their first client, Seatrain Lines.[10]:17

The initials

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 surnames as the company name (DHL).[11] They 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.

Domestic expansion

In the 1970s, DHL was an international delivery company, 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 UPS.

Deutsche Post purchase

Deutsche Post began to acquire shares in DHL in 1998, acquiring controlling interest in 2001. By the end of 2002, Deutsche Post had acquired all of DHL's remaining stock, and absorbed the operation into its Express division.[6] The DHL brand was expanded to other Deutsche Post divisions, business units and subsidiaries. Today, DHL Express shares its DHL brand with other Deutsche Post business units, such as DHL Global Forwarding, DHL Freight, DHL Supply Chain, and DHL Global Mail.

  • 1999: Deutsche Post World Net (DPWN) purchased the Dutch shipping company Van Gend & Loos as well as Swiss freight forwarder Danzas.
  • 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.[12]

After 2001

In 2001, The Packstation, an automated delivery booth, was introduced as a pilot project in Dortmund and Mainz.[13] In December 2002, DHL Introduced the new red and yellow color scheme and logo. All US domestic flights were handled by DHL Airways, Inc. which was renamed ASTAR Air Cargo in 2003, following a management buyout. DHL's first airline still remains with over 550 pilots in service, as of October 2008.[14] On August 2003, Deutsche Post acquired Airborne Express, and began its integration into DHL. In September 2004, a planned expansion by DHL at Brussels Airport creates a political crisis in Belgium.[15] In 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. On 8 November 2004, DHL Express invests €120 million in Indian domestic courier Blue Dart and becomes the majority shareholder in the company.[16] In 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. In 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 250,000 sq ft (23,000 m2) 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.[17] In 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.[18]In December 2007, DHL becomes the first ever carrier to transport cargo via wind powered ships flying MS Beluga Skysails kites. In 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. On 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.[19] Its cargo hub shifts from Wilmington to Louisville.[20][21] The Air Line Pilots Association, International protests.[22] On 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.[23] On 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[24] Limited domestic service is still available from DHL, provided that the packages are tendered to USPS for local delivery. Newegg and RockAuto are companies that use this option as of March 8, 2016. In 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.[25] On June 13, 2013 in Erlanger, Kentucky, USA, the company's newly expanded and upgraded global hub is opened at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.[26]


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 and national post carriers such as United States Postal Service (USPS) 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, now known as DHL eCommerce. 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 Burma). As it is German-owned, DHL is not affected by U.S. embargoes or sanctions and will ship to Cuba[27] and North Korea.[28][29] However, there are strict codes for delivering to North Korea, as the country has shaky relations with the West.[28]

As DHL is no longer a United States company, it is not allowed to make domestic flights between U.S. airports. DHL contracts these services to other providers.[23]

Environmental record

DHL has taken measures to control their environmental effect by use of alternative fuel vehicles. DHL changed vehicles in certain delivery fleets in order to use alternative fuels. Certain new vehicles use compressed natural gas, to which DHL hopes to convert 50% of their vehicles in the future.[30]

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 50 yards (46 m) of any DHL premises or the homes of their employees as well as any organized demonstration within 100 yards (91 m) unless the police had been given four hours' notice. The injunction also protects anyone doing business with DHL from intimidation.[31]

Use of electric vehicles

In December 2014 Deutsche Post DHL purchased the StreetScooter company, a small manufacturer of electric vehicles as part of its long-term goal to reach zero emissions in its delivery operations.[32] By year end 2016, some 2,000 vehicles had been produced.[33][34]

In the future, electric vans with a much greater range will be required to achieve the long term goal of replacing the entire Deutsche Post and DHL Express fleet of approximately 70,000 vehicles with StreetScooter models.[35]

The Deutsche Post/DHL GoGreen program plans to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and local air pollutants; the company has four interim goals for doing so, to be achieved by the year 2025. The long-term goal, summarized by Frank Appel, Chief Executive Officer, is more aggressive. "From now until 2050, our mission will be to drive our business toward zero [logistics related] emissions. We are setting the standard for the future of the transport sector and doing our part to help the world community reach its goal of limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius."[36]

BYD supplies DHL with electric distribution fleet of commercial BYD T3.[37]

DHL aviation

Deutsche Post owns five airline subsidiaries operating for DHL Express, operating approx. 250 aircraft and another 21 aircraft on orders, which are collectively referred to as DHL Aviation. DHL Express is an equal partner in a sixth airline that operates for DHL Express:


For several years, DHL was the primary sponsor of the Porsche RS Spyder Le Mans Prototypes in the International Motor Sports Association 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. DHL were the main title sponsor of the Jordan Formula One team during 2002. Since then, DHL has become a regular track-side sponsor at various races throughout each year, as well as becoming the 'Official Logistics Partner' of the sport. Since 2007, they also sponsor the DHL Fastest Lap Award for the driver that achieves the most fastest laps in a season.[38]

Manchester United Football Club announced them as their first training kit sponsor in August 2011, agreeing to 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.[39][40] In 2014, FC Bayern Munich agreed to a six-year sponsorship deal with DHL.[41] In 2012, the company became the main sponsor of League of Ireland club Bohemian F.C.[42]

DHL is the current title sponsor of the South African Western Cape Rugby Union teams Western Province and the Stormers. This is came into effect on 1 January 2011 for a period of three years.[43] DHL are still the current sponsor for both teams as of the 2017/18 season.

For the 2011–12 Volvo Ocean Race DHL was one of four race partners providing logistics for this event.[44][45]

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".[46] 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.[46] IMG Fashion "will accept applications from February 17 through April 2 at".[46]

Expanding its support to various cultural endeavors, DHL signed as the Official Logistics partner for Cirque du Soleil. DHL transports up to 2,000 tonnes and 80 freight containers utilizing air, sea, and land to transport the equipment from one city to the next.[47]

In 2015 DHL became the main sponsor of Italian volleyball club Modena Volley, covering the whole men's SuperLega Italian championship and the CEV Champions League.[48]

DHL is a major sponsor of Surf Life Saving Australia.[49]

Accidents and incidents

  • In 2002, Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937, a Tupolev Tu-154 passenger jet, collided with DHL Flight 611, a Boeing 757-200 cargo jet at 35,000 ft (11,000 m) over Überlingen, Germany. All 69 passengers onboard the Bashkiran flight (consisting mainly of Russian schoolchildren) and the two pilots of DHL were killed.[50][51]
  • In 22 November 2003, DHL shootdown incident in Baghdad wherein Iraqi insurgents fired an SA-7 "Grail" surface-to-air missile at a European Air Transport Airbus A300 operating on behalf of DHL. The aircraft took off from Baghdad airport whereupon the missile struck the left wing, disabling all three hydraulic systems and set the wing on fire. The aircraft began a dangerous phugoid (vertical oscillation) but the crew managed to land safely at the airport, despite only being able to control the aircraft by adjusting the engine thrust.[52]
  • In October 2008, two DHL Express Middle East senior executives, David Giles and Jason Bresler, were assassinated in Kabul, by one of their own Afghan employees; they received military honors by the U.S. military, the first of such kind in Afghanistan.[53]
  • On 18 March 2010, A DHL Antonov An-26 aircraft made an emergency landing on the frozen Lake Ülemiste, close to Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport. Initial reports indicated problems with the landing gear and one of the engines. The flight was operated by Exin on behalf of DHL. The aircraft involved was SP-FDO and the flight departed from Helsinki Airport. Two of the six crew members were injured.

See also


  1. "Deutsche Post DHL - Ken Allen".
  2. "Company Portrait". DHL Company Portrait. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  3. DHL/DPAG. "DHL Divisions". Retrieved 1 November 2008.
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  6. "Deutsche Post DHL Group - History".
  7. "2016 Report" (PDF). DPHL. Deutsche Post AG. 8 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  8. Burns, Justin (8 March 2017). "Revenue falls, but earnings and operating profit up at DHL". Air Cargo Week. Azura International. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  9. "Deutsche Post DHL reports "record earnings" for 2016". Post and Parcen. 8 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  10. Scurlock, James D. (2012). King Larry: The Life and Ruins of an American Billionaire Genius. New York: Scribner. ISBN 9781416589228.
  11. Services, From Times Wire (23 May 1995). "Larry Hillblom; Co-Founder of DHL Worldwide Express" via LA Times.
  12. "Deutsche Post to buy the rest of DHL". Post & Parcel. 1 September 2002. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  13. "Delivery choice - Parcel lockers". International Post Corporation. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  14. "DHL: Company Information". Archived from the original on 21 August 2006.
  15. "DHL expansion controversy leads to strike". 27 October 2004. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  16. DHL. "DHL Global Press Release". Retrieved 31 October 2008.
  17. DHL. "DHL UK press release". Retrieved 31 October 2008.
  18. Flight Global (28 January 2008). "AeroLogic outlines launch and expansion plans". Retrieved 31 October 2008.
  19. DHL. "DHL to restructure U.S. express business". Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 31 October 2008.
  20. "UPS CEO says DHL deal could change". Cincinnati Business Courier.
  21. "". Archived from the original on 18 July 2011.
  22. "ALPA Calls Upon Congress to Hold New Hearings on DHL-UPS Deal". Reuters. 23 October 2008. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
  23. Aaron Smith (10 November 2008). "DHL cuts 9,500 U.S. jobs". CNN. Retrieved 10 November 2008.
  24. "DHL: Press Releases". Archived from the original on 21 November 2008.
  25. CNBC. "UPS, DHL Scrap Airlift Agreement Talks". Retrieved 13 September 2009.
  26. "Gov. Beshear Participates in Ribbon-Cutting for DHL's Global Hub in Northern Kentucky". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  27. DHL. "Cuba". Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  28. DHL. "Korea". Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  29. Jong, Hwa Sun (12 May 2012). "DHL office works well in Pyongyang". Pyongyang times. George Washington University.
  30. "DHL Makes CNG Alternative Fuel of Choice in UAE". 24 March 2007. Archived from the original on 29 May 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  31. "DHL obtains court injunction". Victims of Animal Rights Extremism. Archived from the original on 27 December 2008. Retrieved 31 October 2008.
  32. "Deutsche Post DHL übernimmt StreetScooter GmbH". Deutsche Post DHL. Deutsche Post AG. 9 December 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2017. Deutsche Post DHL hat den Kaufvertrag für die StreetScooter GmbH unterzeichnet - ein ehemaliges Start-up aus dem Umfeld der RWTH Aachen mit dem Ziel, wirtschaftliche Elektroautos zu entwickeln. Mit der Übernahme der StreetScooter GmbH, die noch unter dem Vorbehalt der fusionskontrollrechtlichen Freigabe steht, übernimmt Deutsche Post DHL auch die Entwicklungs- und Produktionsrechte an den Fahrzeugen sowie die Mitarbeiter. Die StreetScooter GmbH ist ein Spin-Off der RWTH Aachen und als Konsortium aus rund 80 Industrieunternehmen der Automobilindustrie und verwandter Branchen gestartet. Es wurde 2010 gegründet und beschäftigt 70 Mitarbeiter. Seit 2013 sind in Aachen im ehemaligen Talbot-/Bombardierwerk rund 200 StreetScooter Fahrzeuge produziert worden.
  33. "Streetscooter - Der tausendste Elektro-Transporter der Post". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung GmbH. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2017. Die Post will ihren gesamten Fuhrpark auf Elektro-Autos umstellen. Bis dahin dauert es noch. Einen wichtigen Schritt hat das Unternehmen nun aber gemacht.
  34. Weiss, Richard (24 March 2017). "Even Germany's Post Office Is Building an Electric Car". Bloomberg. Bloomberg. Retrieved 26 March 2017. When Deutsche Post AG couldn't find a zero-emission delivery van that met its needs, it bought a startup and developed one.
  35. "Deutsche Post DHL makes its own electric delivery vans". DW. Deutsche Welle. 15 June 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2017. Provided its StreetScooters can be produced cheaply enough compared to the alternative of buying e-vans from established auto makers, the bottom line of the world's biggest delivery services company stands to benefit from producing its own delivery vehicles - whether or not it eventually adds profits from sales of e-vans to third parties.
  36. "2017 Deutsche Post AG Our GoGreen environmental protection program". DP DHL. Deutsche Post. 8 March 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2017. By the year 2050 we want to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero – a highly ambitious goal. To ensure progress towards the 2050 zero-emissions target, we have set four interim goals to be achieved by the year 2025.
  37. (15 January 2016). "BYD supplies DHL with electric distribution fleet". Archived from the original on 19 July 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  38. "DHL to sponsor Formula 1's fastest laps trophy". Brand Republic. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  39. "DHL delivers new shirt deal". Manchester United. 22 August 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2011.
  40. "Manchester United unveils two new commercial deals". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 22 August 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2011.
  41. "FCB and DHL announce partnership - FC Bayern München AG". FC Bayern München AG.
  42. "Bohs agree sponsorship deal with DHL - - League of Ireland". Archived from the original on 13 March 2012.
  43. "DHL new sponsor for WP/ Stormers Rugby". The Stormers. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  44. Volvo Ocean Race. "Volvo Ocean Race". Volvo Ocean Race. Archived from the original on 25 January 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  45. And AFC Champions league Official Timing and Logistics Partner
  46. Lockwood, Lisa (5 February 2014). "DHL, IMG Fashion Launch Program to Boost Designers". WWD. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  47. DHL. "Partnerships: Cirque du Soleil." Retrieved June 20, 2016
  48. Kennedy, Mike (2 October 2015). "Friday's Daily Deal round-up: Love, Raina and more". SportsProMedia. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  49. "Partners - Surf Life Saving". Surf Life Saving. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  50. "Information regarding the air accident". Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  51. "Information regarding the air accident". Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  52. Flight Safety. "DHL". Archived from the original on 5 May 2008. Retrieved 31 October 2008.
  53. "Gulf Daily News » Local News » DHL official is mourned".
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