DHL is a premium delivery service that allows both individuals and corporations to transport goods and documents domestically and internationally.
Shipping costs vary greatly based on the location, size of the package, and urgency.
In general, large packages traveling a long distance with the fastest delivery options will cost the most.
When you see the final cost of your delivery, you may raise an eyebrow.
Why are the prices so high?
Here are the top 10 reasons DHL is so expensive.
Some packages must arrive at their destination as quickly as possible.
Some of the most time-sensitive things that DHL transports include contracts, identification documents, and other important paperwork.
Other documents don’t require such urgent delivery speed.
DHL offers a wide range of options, which gives you the opportunity to select when a product gets to a certain destination.
DHL services include:
- DHL Same Day Jetline: fastest international delivery feasible using the next flight out
- DHL Same Day Sprintline: fastest domestic delivery feasible using a wide range of dedicated vehicles
- DHL Express 9:00, 10:30, or 12:00: next day international delivery by the designated time
- DHL Express Worldwide: next-day delivery worldwide by the end of the day
- DHL Express Easy: convenient international shipping
- DHL Express Envelope: Send documents under 300 grams quickly without the time-consuming customs practices
Naturally, faster delivery costs more.
2. Delivery Reliability
It’s important to use a shipping company that you can depend on.
When you choose DHL, you can trust that your packages will arrive when promised.
If you don’t get your delivery by the promised time, DHL is known for refunding the cost of the delivery to the customer.
Not only does DHL ensure that products get delivered on time, but it also ensures the products arrive in the best condition by having insurance options and specialized programs for industries with unique needs.
DHL offers insurance on your packages to give you peace of mind that you have a resource to help you when something arrives damaged.
DHL’s insurance aims to resolve issues within 30 days so that you don’t need to worry about your claim taking too long.
They can achieve this goal since they have most of the documents required to get the claim processed.
With DHL Global Forwarding, you also get a dedicated insurance representative who will help you throughout the claims process and who knows your exact needs.
Specialized Delivery Programs
DHL Express for Fashion suggests the best packaging options to get clothing from one place to another in one piece.
They also understand that fashion moments happen all around the globe, so they make it easy to transport garments to the largest fashion capitals in the world.
When you need to transport items for your fashion business, red and yellow never go out of style.
DHL Medical Express understands that certain medications require certain conditions in order to remain effective.
They also understand that medications need to get to their destination as quickly as possible.
DHL Express Food & Beverage helps you pick the best packaging options for your non-perishable food products so that they retain their flavor and freshness.
Competition keeps DHL on its toes.
They work hard to regularly improve processes and prices to stay competitive in the market.
DHL’s main competitors include:
- United States Postal Service (USPS)
Each service has its own advantages and disadvantages, including DHL.
Generally speaking, DHL finds itself at the head of the pack when it comes to international delivery.
At the same time, they also have one of the most limited presences in the United States.
See the price comparisons between DHL and FedEx for a three-pound package to go from New York to London:
- DHL Express Worldwide (one to three business days): $118.50
- DHL Express Worldwide (five business days): $96.70
- FedEx International First (two business days): $216.72
- FedEx International Priority (two business days): $163.37
While DHL has much cheaper prices for this international example, FedEx offers cheaper prices for domestic transportation.
Since DHL has a much smaller ground fleet than most of the competition, domestic transportation costs more for them.
All deliveries are subject to a fuel surcharge that fluctuates based on the current gas prices.
Some deliveries require additional precautions or attention that make them more expensive.
We will cover some of the surcharges that you may incur through DHL.
A fuel surcharge helps pay for the fuel required to transport goods both via plane and truck.
The November 2021 fuel surcharge is 19.75%.
Seemingly innocuous items have unique guidelines based on their contents.
For example, Lithium batteries have material inside of them that requires appropriate packaging.
If you do not package lithium batteries properly but leave them loose in the package, DHL will apply an additional surcharge.
Some areas in remote locations are difficult to deliver to thanks to difficult terrain or distance.
Remote locations both domestically and internationally will require an additional surcharge to make up for the additional efforts of the delivery person.
Some places contain a higher risk than others due to war or other political unrest.
While DHL will still deliver to these locations under certain circumstances, they include an additional charge.
Elevated risk locations include:
Some locations don’t present as high of a risk, but they still require special consideration as required by the United Nations Security Council:
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- North Korea
Sometimes, you need to change the details of a delivery unexpectedly.
Luckily, DHL allows you to update details of your delivery as long as you request an update within a certain time frame.
In some cases, you don’t realize the information you provided required an update.
DHL will perform the required research to update the information for you.
However, they need to pay for someone to perform the research, and they need to pay for the technology to assist them.
This costs money, so they tack on an additional charge when they need to do this.
5. International Delivery
Naturally, it costs more to deliver things internationally than it does to deliver things domestically.
When you send items to a foreign country as part of your business or personal shipping needs, you feel the additional charges.
Luckily, DHL has the best international fees, even if they do seem high at first.
One thing that makes DHL stand out as a German company is its ability to deliver to countries prohibited by American sanctions, such as Cuba and North Korea.
As it works closely with the United States Postal Service (USPS), DHL recently became the exclusive mail carrier for international mail between the United States and Iraq/Afghanistan.
While limited, DHL does restrict deliveries from the United States to some countries.
In Russia, DHL will only deliver documents to individual homes.
DHL Aviation has a cargo airline with a large fleet that allows DHL to transport goods internationally with such ease.
DHL Aviation utilizes five different airlines to support their international needs:
- European Air Transport Leipzig
- DHL Air UK
- DHL Aero Expreso
- Blue Dart Aviation
The entire fleet contains 184 planes and visits 246 different locations.
Their main hubs are located in Cincinnati, Hong Kong, Leipzig, and East Midlands Airport.
6. Environmental Efforts
Gas creates a substantial amount of pollution.
As a transportation company, DHL understands its role on a global scale.
That’s why they have dedicated themselves to environmental efforts regarding transportation.
In order to reduce its carbon footprint, DHL uses multiple vehicles that run on compressed natural gas as opposed to standard gas.
In the future, DHL hopes to convert at least 50% of all vehicles to run on compressed natural gas.
Not only does DHL use vehicles with alternative fuel, but they also use electric vehicles.
By 2016, DHL put more than 2,000 electric vehicles on the road.
Electric vans continue to increase in efficiency and effectiveness as years go by.
DHL hopes to move toward an entirely electric fleet in the future.
DHL employs 380,000 staff.
They need to use a large portion of their revenue to pay these employees.
Of course, these employees help make DHL the premium quality company they are.
DHL provides a high-quality customer service department available for international customers.
The help desk can answer your questions about using the website or any other technical questions you may have.
You’ll also be able to get a live person to assist you if you run into a problem.
Not only is the customer service staff thoroughly trained, but they also have a system specifically designed to transfer you to someone who speaks the local language and deals in the local currency.
Delivery drivers must deliver items to people safely and on time.
They must have extensive training when it comes to driving properly as well as understanding the proper processes of contactless delivery.
Thanks to the increase in demand, drivers expect more pay than ever.
While deserving, the increase throws a slight wrench into the company’s budget.
They need to make this up in their pricing.
8. American Service Surcharge
As a German company, DHL focuses on its international services more than US domestic services.
When they do travel from one airport in the United States to another, they will incur extra charges.
To make up for the additional cost associated with a foreign company using American airports, DHL puts an additional 4.5% charge on all requests to transport something from one American location to another American location.
9. Commercial Services
When you need to use DHL for business services, whether to support international eCommerce or international document transportation, you need your products to arrive on time and damage-free.
You also need a company large enough to support large-scale needs.
However, these large-scale needs come with special charges.
DHL may require a minimum number of parcels to qualify for certain rates.
If you don’t meet these numbers, you may not qualify for certain discounts.
10. Optional Services
DHL does its part to give you as many options as possible when it comes to your delivery.
These customizable options can ensure that your package arrives exactly as requested.
However, you may need to pay for those additional optional services.
When you feel somewhat overwhelmed by your shipping needs, a professional can help you prepare your shipping orders in a way that will ensure everything gets handled in the best way possible.
This will keep your customers happy and, hopefully, continuing to buy from you.
Some packages require more attention than others.
In fact, some need their own package thanks to an unusual size or shape.
DHL will happily work with you, but you may get a charge for dedicated pickup that goes outside of normal delivery practices.
Ultimately, DHL provides a great option for anyone who wants international delivery services.
However, for domestic American services, they will cost more than other options that provide similar service.