1969 to present
Just months after man’s first landing on the Moon, DHL began operating the first international door-to-door express delivery service in the world. When Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom and Robert Lynn established DHL in 1969, they simultaneously invented the international air express industry.
In the beginning, the three partners delivered shipping documents by air, so that they arrived at customs offices before the freight, and enabled goods to pass through customs with less delay.
The Philippines becomes operational and the US network continues to develop.
The Sydney office opens and becomes the headquarters for Australia.
Operations in the UK commence, spurred by the increasing importance of London as a key financial centre.
DHL begins to move away from pure document delivery by introducing the Small Parcel Express service, which later became Worldwide Parcel Express (WPX).
In Europe, DHL Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Ireland, Sweden and Belgium become operational.
Nigeria becomes the first territory in Africa to open up to DHL.
DHL continues to grow in Africa with the opening of offices in South Africa and Kenya.
In Latin America, the office in Argentina opens.
Lebanon and Oman are established in the Middle East.
Denmark, Andorra, Spain and the Canary Islands are opened in Europe.
The organisation is now so large that it is re-structured into regions, linked by a telecommunications network.
Services start to Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Bolivia, Bonaire, Cape Verde, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Iceland, Martinique, Mauritania, Montserrat, Nevis, Nicaragua, St. Barthelemey, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, St. Vincent, Senegal, Tonga, Turks and Caicos Islands and Zaire.
DHL is the first air express company to formulate plans to use state-of-the art packet-switching to track packages and aid communications between DHL staff.
DHL also starts service to Belize, Bosnia, Botswana, Brunei, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Liberia, Maldives, Malta, Seychelles, Slovenia, Surinam and Togo and the Channel Islands.
In the US, the overnight programme is developed, using the USA airline system from two hubs at Cincinnati and Salt Lake City.
DHL starts services to Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Benin, Congo, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea Republic, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Qatar, Russia, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vanuatu.
The Unix operating system was adopted for DHL hardware and software and the first automated customer service system was deployed in Washington DC, USA.
DHL starts service in Bulgaria, Burkina Fasso, Djibouti, Mozambique, Nauru, Somalia and Swaziland.
DHL starts services to the Cook Islands, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Reunion Island, Gambia, Lesotho, Tahiti, Madagascar, Mali, Uganda and Zambia.
WorldMail is introduced – a service for the cross-border transport and distribution of mailings.
DHL introduces new standards of customer service. Delivery targets before 10:30 and-12 noon and end-of-day are established. All incoming calls have to be answered within three rings and all calls that require a response are returned within 60 minutes.
The Global airwaybill is introduced to facilitate further the sending of shipments.
Namibia, St. Lucia and Vietnam are added to the list of countries served by DHL.
In the US, the Cincinnati hub is expanded to cope with continued growth.
DHL Budapest is established as a joint venture with Hungary’s state-owned transport company Hungarocamion. Following this, DHL’s Eastern Europe head office is relocated from Frankfurt to Budapest.
DHL Middle East introduces the Express Club for its customers, providing members with an enhanced service.
The Brussels hub is expanded to keep pace with explosive growth.
Services to Tanzania and Laos are set up.
A brand new headquarters building for DHL Japan is established in Tokyo.
Easyship, an integrated shipping processing system is introduced to allow customers to have complete control in preparing and tracking shipments, all from their PC.
Start of services to Bhutan, Cambodia, Cuba, Equatorial New Guinea, Libya, Macedonia and Sao Tome.
With the old Eastern European countries opening up trade with the West, DHL sets up in the Czech Republic.
DHL initiates Easylynk services together with Western Union. This pioneering service combines an electronic transmission via satellite to a DHL office for printing and onward despatch and delivery (the service survived as Satellite Express until the advent of electronic mail).
DHL sets up its first Express Logistics Centres around the world to service its customers’ future requirements. The vision the company communicates to its customers is the ability to provide next morning delivery of their inventories anywhere in the world.
Offices open in Tirana, Albania and services start to Estonia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Mongolia, Niue, Romania, Tuvalu and Ukraine.
DHL prompts a major breakthrough in customs clearance technology by establishing a direct computer link with UK Customs. The software, developed by DHL, cuts clearance times for inbound dutiable shipments by up to 50% whilst guaranteeing accuracy of documentation and administration.
DHL begins delivering to the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
The company announces a massive four-year capital spending programme with investments in worldwide handling systems, automation, facilities, communications and computer technology.
An investment of US$ 60 million is made in the Bahrain regional distribution centre.
Next-day delivery between the Middle East and Brussels is guaranteed with the first scheduled Boeing 757 freighter service.
A gateway facility opens in Moscow.
A US$10 million hub is opened in Bombay.
A high-tech Express Logistics Centre is opened in Singapore.
Internet tracking of shipments is introduced.
DHL Connect, an Internet-based desktop shipping solution for customers, is launched.
DHL announces investment in a new export facility at Melbourne Airport, Australia, offering bonded warehousing (with in-house customs clearance and direct access to tarmac) and strategic inventory management for customers.
DHL launches DHL WAP Track, the industry’s first tracking service designed specially for use with WAP-enabled mobile phones and devices.
DHL announces the acquisition of 44 Boeing 757s for its Europe and Africa network.
DHL Worldwide Express shows its commitment to facilitate the growth of e-commerce by providing logistics services to businesses as it unveils the opening of an on-line Express Logistics Centre (ELC) in Tsuen Wan.
DHL introduces next-generation mobile wireless data scanner, the CatsEye.
DHL launches http://www.dhlmasterclass.com, which acts as a source of business intelligence for companies and helps guide them in their transition from traditional non-internet business into e-business.
The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) elects the founders of DHL to their International Air Cargo Hall of Fame.
DHL announces the formation of a new UK airline, based at East Midlands Airport, England.
DHL celebrates the arrival of the first Boeing 757 Special Freighters at its Brussels hub, Belgium from the new fleet of 44 Boeing 757 announced in October 1999.
DHL announces expansion of its existing next-day express deliver service to provide Timed Delivery across all major business centres in the European Union.
DHL and NWA Cargo combine forces to provide customers with fast, reliable and secure services linking the US and Asia in a multi-million dollar deal, reinforcing DHL’s leading market position in Asia Pacific.
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