One of the most important aspects of the online shopping experience is the shipping process.
When problems occur with your order, it can delay shipping.
This can create a frustrating experience that results in you needing to juggle between talking to the sellers and the carriers.
If the seller is using DHL to ship your order, then you may be uncertain of which steps to take to solve any problems you’re experiencing.
In particular, if you receive a message that your DHL shipment is on hold, then you may not be sure what that means.
Here’s what you need to know about what it means when your DHL shipment is on hold and what you can do about it.
DHL Shipment On Hold (4 Things To Do, What It Means)
When you receive a message that your DHL shipment is on hold, it means that your package is no longer moving.
There are several things that can cause a delay in your shipping.
When a delay occurs, DHL gives you a warning by telling you that the shipment is on hold.
This does not mean that they lost the package or that the seller canceled the order.
It only means that something has occurred during transit that is keeping the delivery driver from being able to progress towards your destination.
While there isn’t too much you can do to solve the problem, there are some steps you can take to find out more information.
Consider these steps to take when you learn your DHL shipment is on hold.
1. Contact DHL’s Customer Service
One of the first things you should do is contact DHL’s customer service.
You’ll need information about your package like its tracking number and its destination.
The representative can potentially give you an update or some information about the delay.
They might be able to tell you the cause of the delay and give you an estimate on when the package will continue to progress towards you.
In some cases, such as a natural disaster or social unrest, it can be impossible to determine when the package can resume its journey.
At best, the representative can tell you the reason for the delay.
You can call their service every few days to receive an update if your shipment is still on hold.
2. Research Route
While you won’t be able to know the exact route that the driver is taking, you can figure out a general idea.
Start with finding out more about your seller.
You’ll need to determine if they keep their products at their location or at a warehouse.
If they use a warehouse, then you need to determine where those warehouse locations are.
Your order likely comes from one that is closest to you.
Then consider where the DHL transit hubs are.
The seller likely wouldn’t use DHL if the carrier was a long distance from them since it’d make shipping costlier.
Once you know these two locations, you can generate a potential route to your location.
This gives you the ability to then research any problems occurring in that area.
If your package is coming from a different country, for example, then you might want to look at border closings or overwhelmed customs offices.
It’s also worth investigating how busy ports are as this can also put shipments on hold.
Even something as simple as some road construction in your area can cause a problem.
Once you discover the variables that are in play, then you may have an idea of the cause for the delay.
The best thing you can do when your shipment is on hold is to wait it out.
Your package will arrive at your location.
It just may take a bit longer than you expected.
However, if you do find yourself waiting longer than a few weeks after the initial scheduled arrival date, then it’s also worth contacting DHL again.
4. Cancel The Order
Finally, if the delay is going to cause a problem or you’re not going to need the product by the time it arrives, then you can always cancel your order.
When you cancel an order, DHL will receive a notification not to deliver the package.
They’ll return it to the seller instead.
Why Does Your DHL Package Say Shipment On Hold?
There are several reasons your DHL package may be placed on hold.
Here are some of those reasons.
1. Natural Disaster
Unfortunately, shipping companies can’t control the weather.
Although they try their hardest to deliver during sunny days and rainy ones, some elements of the weather are simply too dangerous for them to travel through.
Natural disasters can occur at any time.
Most people tend to think of tornados or hurricanes, but other natural disasters can also impede delivery.
Snowstorms, earthquakes, and even extremely windy days can prevent a delivery driver from being able to drive.
In some cases, the shipment can’t progress because a natural disaster just happened.
The roads are full of debris or destroyed.
Some highways may even have flooding problems.
In these cases, the driver can’t make it to your destination until the community clears the debris, or until they can find an alternate route.
If they find themselves in the middle of a natural disaster, then they’ll need to take shelter somewhere safe.
Natural disasters can occur quickly or take a long time to pass.
They’re unable to get back on the road until it’s safe to do so.
Even then, they may find that their van has taken some damage, or the area is impassable.
Natural disasters can be a reason for your DHL shipment being on hold.
2. Social Unrest
DHL primarily delivers in European countries.
As such, there are often social unrest events occurring.
Whether it’s to protest a particular leadership choice or a law, protests and marches can impact a delivery.
Sometimes social unrest can even cause borders to close until the unrest dies down.
In some cases, social unrest might only cause minimal delay to your package.
The driver only needs to find a different road around the protest or march.
However, if it’s a large-scale protest or march, then this can be quite difficult.
It may not be safe to be on the roads either.
The driver has to do what’s safe before they can continue on their route.
Otherwise, your order may never make it to your door.
Social unrest can be a reason your DHL shipment is on hold.
3. Closed Borders
One of the biggest reasons you may see that your shipment is on hold is closed borders.
A country can close its borders for a number of reasons.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, countries closed their borders in an effort to reduce the chances of the disease spreading.
Many deliveries had a delay put on them because of this.
DHL and other carriers were simply unable to enter a different country until the country lifted the lockdown and opened the borders again.
Another reason a country may close its borders could be a security threat.
If they believe a terrorist or something similar might be attempting to leave or enter the country, then they will close the borders.
In most cases, they’ll only close the border in the area where the culprit was last seen.
However, if that is the same border that DHL is attempting to cross, then that driver will experience a delay.
Finally, countries might close their borders because of political conflicts.
If two neighboring countries are at war, for example, then they might close their borders to ensure they are not invaded.
The problem with closed borders is that it’s impossible to know how long they’re going to stay closed.
This can make it almost impossible for DHL to complete the delivery since they’re unable to access the country.
They will either need to find a different route around the country or wait until the border opens if the delivery is in the closed country.
You can potentially expect your delivery to be on hold for a long time.
DHL might put your shipment on hold if they encounter a closed border.
4. Port Congestion
One of the more common reasons that your DHL shipment is on hold is port congestion.
If you are ordering something from a different country, then DHL has to bring it through customs.
Customs is the first line of defense for many countries.
The employees go through various packages and shipping manifests to ensure nothing illegal is coming into the country.
They also look for dangerous items like bombs and weapons as well as biological weapons.
During certain times of the year, customs is flush with traffic.
The holiday season is a prime example.
With everyone buying products that come mostly from outside of the United States, customs suddenly finds itself having to process thousands of packages.
DHL has to wait its turn just like everyone else.
Port congestion doesn’t usually cause too much of a delay.
At most, your package may be on hold for a day or two before it resumes its progress once more.
However, certain circumstances, like the COVID-19 pandemic can make problems worse.
With a lot of reliance on buying online and with fewer employees able to work, it creates a bottleneck situation.
Only a certain number of packages can make it through the verification process a day.
This can cause a huge delay that only grows because more and more packages are arriving.
Until your package makes its way through the system, you can expect your shipment to remain on hold.
Congestion at ports and customs can be a reason your DHL shipment is on hold.
5. Route Changes
There can also be sudden changes in the route that can cause DHL to place your shipment on hold.
A delivery driver may become ill while they’re on the road, or they may find themselves with a family emergency.
Delivery vans can break down and require service.
This requires a different driver or van to complete the delivery.
However, they then have to fit it into their own route.
This might mean that your package suffers a delay of a day or two.
If you look at your tracking and notice that your package is going away from you or is in a strange area, then it’s usually because there was a route change.
These can occur at any time, but they don’t always delay your package for a very long time.
If your package requires a route change, then it could force DHL to put a temporary hold on your shipment.
6. Lack Of Transport
DHL isn’t as large as some of the other carriers.
Because of that, they have a limited number of vans, planes, ships, and other types of transport.
When they’re stretched beyond their limit, then they have to wait until one of those transport vehicles is available.
In the shipping industry, one of the most important aspects is weight.
They determine many of their routes by weight.
That’s because the heavier something is, the more expensive it is going to be to transport.
That’s why carriers try to keep a balance between cost effectiveness and efficiency.
If your package is heavy, then it may require them to use an entirely new van to deliver it.
It might be too heavy for the last van of the day.
As a result, you will have to wait an additional day for a new van to arrive.
This means that DHL will send you a notification stating that your shipment is on hold.
They’re holding it until a new method of transport arrives.
Because DHL is a smaller carrier, their limited number of transport vehicles may cause a hold on your shipment.
7. Incomplete Documentation
The backbone of the shipping industry is paperwork and documentation.
Most documentation is through labels, bar codes, and scanners.
However, because of the nature of shipping, it’s possible for labels to receive damage or bar codes to be scratched off.
That makes reading or scanning them impossible.
As a result, there’s incomplete documentation.
The driver no longer knows where to deliver it.
Maybe the customs office can’t process it because they don’t know the contents of the package.
In some cases, there’s a mistake on the seller’s part.
In their rush, they might have forgotten to include information.
DHL may need to hold the shipment until that information comes to them.
In other cases, the buyer might put the wrong information down or forget to include something.
In this case, DHL needs to wait for them to fix the problem.
Only then can they receive the documentation they need to complete the shipment.
If you receive a message that your shipment is on hold, then it might be because DHL lacks the documentation it needs.
If it needs documentation from you, then you’ll receive another message asking for it.
A final reason that you may notice your DHL shipment is on hold is that it is a holiday.
DHL doesn’t operate on a holiday.
While you may not expect your delivery on an actual holiday, you may forget about one that exists during the week or one that isn’t celebrated as much.
DHL takes certain holidays off, so drivers aren’t on the road and delivering packages.
This usually means that your package is only delayed by a day.
However, if you happen to notice a message that says your DHL package is on hold, then it’s worth checking to see if it’s a holiday.
If so, then you can likely expect it to continue its transit the next day.
Holidays can delay a few things like DHL shipments.
How Long Does A Shipment On Hold Take?
It’s difficult to give an exact timeframe when you notice that the DHL shipment is on hold.
It’s understandable that you might want some idea.
There are a few details you can gather that might give you a ballpark answer.
By researching any holidays, border problems, or road construction projects around you, you can determine whether any obstacles may be causing the delay.
Something like a holiday or road construction may only keep your package on hold for a day or two.
A complicated border crossing or social unrest may cause an even longer delay.
The best thing you can do to determine how long it might take for your held shipment to continue moving is to call DHL.
Even they won’t be able to give you an exact answer, but they might be able to provide you with some information.
When you receive a message that your DHL shipment is on hold, then it means the driver is temporarily unable to progress further in your direction.
They tell you this to make you aware that there’s going to be some delay on your package.
While there isn’t much you can do to avoid these delays, you can contact DHL to find out as much information about your package as possible.